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Polio, breast cancer survivor fighting to keep small business during COVID-19

Ana Elsa Rosas
Posted at 3:37 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 20:29:52-04

PHOENIX — Ana Elsa Rosas, “Anita” is an entrepreneur at heart.

“I was five or six years old and started renting my comics to people. I would sell my candy in school until the principal told me I couldn’t sell it anymore because I was taking customers away from their convenience store,” said Anita.

Anita contracted polio as a baby during the outbreak in the early fifties, she says doctors in Mexico didn’t think she would make it, but she did.

“I grew up with this condition in a wheelchair. My aunt raised me and took me to Mexico City for treatment then after childhood I moved to Obregon, Sonora where I started selling candy in the streets until I moved to Nogales, Sonora.”

Anita went from selling flowers, candy, and painting ceramics at the border in Nogales, to a self-taught graphic designer in Phoenix.

“Somebody gave me this computer, the big ones, the old ones, and I started trying it and seeing how it works. I learned how to edit and everything on my own,” she said.

Anita started a small invitation business from home, but she is now struggling to keep her small business afloat during this pandemic.

“Suddenly in April everybody canceled invitations, postponed. In all these times there was no business for me or for anybody that lives from events. I didn't have anything for income.”

A blessing in disguise. Anita says this experience helped her to restore her faith in humanity. She says she has been able to survive thanks to friends and former customers’ donations like food, water, and even money to pay the rent of her small room.

“It made me feel that there are hearts able to feel the pain of others, the suffering, and the need," Anita said. "That made me really happy because to tell you the truth, everybody has something to give and not necessarily economically.”

Anita has fought against all odds since she was a baby, but her biggest battle was cancer. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have health insurance.”

Anita beat cancer. Breast cancer left her some scars and polio destroyed her legs.

Neither could take her dreams away, “you have to work hard to get what you want right?”

Work is exactly what she’s looking for. “I do customized designs. You just tell me what you want, what I do, I do it from my heart,” said Anita.

To contact Anita visit her Facebook page.