MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Employees at a Myrtle Beach area Target are coming together to help a co-worker through a cancer diagnosis.
Josie Martinez is described as selfless, good-hearted and humble.
“Everybody knows Josie,” Ellie Pender, who has worked with Josie for about five years said. “She’s that person who is going to ask you about your day, about your family.”
Just a few weeks ago, at the request of several co-workers and family members, Josie went to the doctor to get evaluated for swelling in her leg.
“We finally talked her into going to the doctor,” Pender said. “Some fellow colleagues talked her into going down to Charleston so she was actually diagnosed just a few weeks ago with the cancer. It is a rare bone cancer.”
A rare bone cancer called Malignant Sarcoma.
“This is the second time she’s battling cancer,” Josie’s niece, Rita Thacker said. “She’s fought cancer before and she won. She had stomach cancer several years ago and she’s tough. She’s good-hearted; she’s going to pull through and she is going to be okay.”
Pender tells News13, people come into Target and ask to see Josie.
“People will literally come into the store and ask us, “Is Ms. Josie here?” they just want to see her; they just want to say hello,” she said “They don’t care if they’re waiting in the longest line in the store, they will wait in that line just to say hi to Josie.”
Thacker, who lives in Maine, says even though Josie does not have any relatives in South Carolina, she does have her “Target family.”
“Her target family pulled together,” she explained. “Some took her to appointments; they’ve all been there to help her through this.”
Those co-workers, including Pender, started a GoFundMe to help Josie offset medical bills and not being able to work while recovering.
“We don’t want her to stress,” Pender said. “She’s family to us. So it’s the same mindset. You just want to make sure that everything is there for them if they need it.”
Thacker says she is thankful for Josie’s co-workers and all they’ve done so far to help her.
“It’s terribly important that someone who is faced with this kind of diagnosis knows that they are loved and people want to help. It kind of keeps your spirits up.”
Josie worked until the day before she needed to leave for Charleston for the surgery.
The surgery to remove a watermelon-size tumor was today (9/9), a few weeks after the diagnoses. Thacker tells News13, the surgery was successful as they were able to remove the whole tumor. Now, she has about six weeks of recovery. The need for further treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation is not known at this time.
If you would like to donate, click this link for the GoFundMe.