Locala Magazine, October 2021

10/01/2021 12:09 AM By Lisa Anderson
October 2021, Vol. 1, Issue No. 5


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Letter from the Publisher

Dear Ocala,

What do you think of when you hear the word survivor? Do you think of the reality TV show or someone who beat the odds at cancer?

For me, a survivor is someone who has beaten the odds, but also the person who stepped out of a bad situation, is battling addiction (and winning), or has come back from military deployment. In truth, many of us are survivors, but in different degrees: The mother who must continue to live after a miscarriage, the family who has to move on after the loss of a loved one, the city rebuilding after a natural disaster.

Survivor stories can be the hardest to tell, because they bring people back into a painful time. I also think they are some of the most important ones to pass onto others. They show our humanity and our frailty, but they also show our strength and ability to fight.

It’s not easy to admit to the general public that you are battling with addiction—how you have fallen down time and time again. For someone like John Sotomayor—whose business is winning awards and breaking new ground for the LGBTQ+ community—to sit down and say, “Share my story, if it will help one person struggling,” takes courage and faith. Find his story on page 28.

Reliving moments of pain and heartbreak, like veteran David Tozzo and domestic abuse survivor Marianne Gennaro, is exceptionally brave. These types of events definitely come with their own forms of PTSD, but telling the story to help another human being overcome their trauma or to become a survivor is definitely noble. You can find David’s story on page 9 and Marianne’s story on page 12.

Of course, a survivor issue in October would not be complete without a story about someone thriving while living with the scars of breast cancer. The story we chose is about Marcia Daubinmire, a teacher from Vanguard High School, who trusted her gut and God, when she was originally told she did not have cancer. Read her story on page 14.

Let’s not forget the other amazing people who stepped forward to share their stories: Angela Boone dances her way through life, Jessica Schultz gets to the heart of marketing, and Chad Taylor and Manal Fakhoury are our experts this month. Finally, we conclude R.J. Jenkins’ Follow Me story.

So, grab the tissues. And then some hope.

Most Sincerely, Lisa Anderson
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