My life in Puerto Peñasco has been full of blessings, among them my friendship with Blanca Valdez and her children. I met Blanca in the 1990’s when she was a massage therapist, and I was a tourist looking for a massage. She was recommended to me by a student at Gloria’s Beauty Salon, and what a stroke of luck! I received the best massage I’ve ever had, and the seeds of a friendship were planted that day. Not only is Blanca a massage therapist, she is also a nurse esthetician and a physical therapist, as well as an amazing mother and a good friend. While Blanca has been busy raising children, she has also found the time to nurture me through home construction, divorce, hip replacement, loss of both parents, a heart attack, and now shoulder replacement. As well, Blanca has helped me to learn to speak passable Spanish – one of her more taxing challenges.

All four of Blanca’s children are budding martial artists, and one morphed into Amazing Alana, taking martial arts training to competitive track and field events, which resulted in her move to Hermosillo to a school that both educates and trains young Olympic hopefuls. Amazing Alana recently received gold medals in shot putting and javelin throwing at the national competition recently held in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico. The next stop is the ISF U15 World School Sport Games 2021, to be held September 9-19, 2021 in Belgrade, Serbia, and in which Alana is considered a serious contender for world championships in her age group. She just needs to get there!1

Families of young athletes are expected to bear the cost of youth competition that will bring glory to Mexico, and that’s where I come in – finally I am able to do something for Blanca and her family! The trip to Serbia, with all its attending expenses, may cost as much as $12,000 USD. If everyone I know, and everyone they know, were to contribute just $20 each, sending Amazing Alana and her mom to Serbia would be a cakewalk! In addition to airline tickets, food and lodging, Amazing Alana must have uniforms, entry fees and whatever equipment is needed by shot putters and javelin throwers, as well as her mom by her side, since she is only 14 years old. A Go Fund Me Page has been opened for donations and can be found online at If you prefer to write a check, or donate cash, those may be deposited to account 3203040500 at National Bank of Arizona. If you prefer to help by paying Blanca for a massage, a facial, or one of her other services, that is excellent! Call Blanca Valdez for appointments at 638-713-6813 to schedule.

My belief is that today’s young athletes are tomorrow’s world leaders. If I am correct about that, then your donation to Amazing Alana might just be support for Mexico’s first woman president! Ojala!! Please help me to help my friend and her daughter by donating generously, if you are able – thank you!

Gretchen is the owner of Real Estate & Retirement Consulting. For an appointment call (011-52) 638-384-0458 (Mex) or 602-317-3881 (USA) or email