Fighting Cancer with Bottle Caps
Published on June 13, 2022
Banco de Tapitas A.C., a charity located in Mexico, emphasizes that every individual has the personal responsibility to recycle and ensure that plastic no longer reaches our oceans. While promoting environmental change, the organization has linked recycling to saving the lives of children battling cancer and in 2021 alone, provided cancer treatment free of charge to 511 patients.
Operating under the motto, “If life gives you caps, don't throw them away,” Banco de Tapitas encourages their local community to donate their bottle caps either directly to the nonprofit or to volunteer ‘ambassadors’ who collect the caps on the NPO’s behalf. After collecting the caps, the organization takes the supplies to local collection centers. From there, the centers financially compensate Banco de Tapitas to be able to reuse the material in the production of new items such as toys, utensils, even boats - all using the material from bottle caps.
Banco de Tapitas’ President, Edgar Cabrera states that by developing the shelter’s medicinal stock, the organization is now able to “redirect resources to other programs that work on the emotional level of each patient, which we believe is an important part of their recovery process. These programs are oncological wigs and ocular prostheses. Many of our patients who receive a wig or prosthesis feel a significant degree of insecurity in their daily lives. Thanks to CAF's support, we have been able to strengthen these programs and serve more and more patients within these programs. Seeing a patient return to school or normal activities and see them happy, safe and brave, makes us fall more in love with life.”
In Mexico, a patient lasts approximately 4 or 5 years in treatment. With this in mind, Banco de Tapitas places great emphasis on the emotional stability of their patients. Each patient’s individual success is celebrated through a bell ringing tradition, this means that upon completing treatment with no remaining cancer cells to be found, a bell is rung for all those around to hear. Not only does this provide a great degree of satisfaction for the child ringing the bell, but it encourages the patients remaining in the hospital to keep fighting.
In the years to come, Banco de Tapitas hopes to impact many more lives - this time by expanding their reach throughout Mexico. As of now, the organization holds two offices and three shelters. In 2022, the non-profit organization plans to unravel an aggressive plan to grow in two more cities, Monterrey and Querétaro:
“Cancer does not wait and people's need grows every day, that's why we want to end this year with at least 1 office and 2 more shelters. If we can bring love and hope to more than 1,000 patients across the country and fund our programs through recycling, we will be meeting one of the most ambitious challenges in the 2030 goals set by the UN.”
- Banco de Tapitas' President, Edgar Cabrera
Profile of Impact
Edgar Cabrera, President of Banco de Tapitas, graduated in Communication and Marketing from the Tecnológico de Monterrey. His career began transforming different companies in the financial sector, innovating in Quality and Customer Service processes. This experience led him to become part of the Tecnológico de Monterrey in its Business Linkage area where he developed programs for companies, training to improve Processes and Customer Service, as well as Coaching and Skills Development.
His talent has led him to participate in the Government sector such as the Government of San Miguel de Allende, implementing public policies for the benefit of youth at risk. Edgar is the founder and president of Banco de Tapitas, a civil association that fights against childhood cancer through recycling. Thanks to its management, it has been possible to attend to more than 500 patients since 2015 in different programs free of charge. Thanks to its work, the association has developed programs to fulfill dreams, prostheses, oncological wigs, which have transcended internationally and received several distinctions for it. This year Edgar was distinguished as one of the 10 most important social leaders in the central part of Mexico.
About the author
Wendy Pius serves as CAF America’s Thought Leadership Officer. Through this role, she is responsible for organizational knowledge management and original content creation pertaining to international philanthropy and cross-border giving.