The Retro Wagon Food Truck's Journey from Burgers to Breast Cancer Advocacy

In 2022, entrepreneur Rebecca Romero Beiber embarked on a culinary adventure with the launch of her food truck, the Retro Wagon, in Fort Bragg. Her vision was clear – to serve American comfort food and diner classics to travelers along California Route 1. From eggy breakfast sandwiches to juicy burgers, Romero Beiber quickly gained a loyal following, particularly among first responders, CalTrans, PG&E, AT&T, and other blue-collar field workers.

However, the food truck's success took an unexpected turn when, in April 2023, less than 10 months after its opening, Rebecca Romero Beiber received a breast cancer diagnosis. Undeterred, she reached out to the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County (CRC Mendocino), a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life for those facing cancer in Mendocino County.

Jack Bush, a patient navigator for CRC Mendocino and a friend of Romero Beiber, became her guardian angel during this challenging period. The nonprofit supported her through medical appointments, providing transportation, financial assistance, and emotional support. Despite Romero Beiber's efforts to keep the Retro Wagon open during her treatment, the food truck closed in May, transforming its Instagram feed from burgers and sandwiches to cancer updates.

Throughout the cancer treatment and recovery journey, CRC Mendocino remained a constant source of support. Team members accompanied Romero Beiber to appointments, asked crucial questions, and provided notes and transcripts. The nonprofit also supplied gas and grocery gift cards, offering comfort, assurance, and kindness during a time of limited income due to the food truck's closure.

In September, after completing her last radiation treatment, Romero Beiber expressed gratitude for CRC Mendocino's invaluable assistance. The Retro Wagon resumed its operation on October 2, serving breakfast burritos and double-decker cheeseburgers to dedicated customers at Ananse Village.

Eager to give back, Romero Beiber initiated a fundraiser named "Burgers for Boobs." The Retro Wagon hosted a raffle for a remote control speed buggy and accepted cash donations from customers. On December 14, the fundraiser culminated in a successful event where a portion of all burger sales contributed to a total donation of $1,200 for CRC Mendocino.

Anya Jindrich, the executive director of CRC Mendocino, expressed gratitude for Romero Beiber's initiative, emphasizing the impact on breast cancer patients. The funds raised translated into tangible aid, alleviating financial burdens and offering hope throughout their journey.

For Romero Beiber, the fundraiser was a way to express her appreciation to CRC Mendocino, stating, "I am forever grateful to the CRC for being an invaluable resource during my diagnosis and treatment. Giving back is just a small way to show them my appreciation." The Retro Wagon's journey from serving comfort food to becoming a catalyst for gratitude reflects the resilience and generosity within the community.

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