EULESS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Joyce Rider’s journey to the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD PTA Clothes Closet started in 2001.

Doctors diagnosed her with stage 4 colon cancer. The cancer was growing. She endured surgery and complications.

“When I got out of the hospital, I was very depressed. I prayed to die because I was so sick, and evidently, God had another purpose for me,” said Rider.

She found a purpose among rows and rows of donated clothes.

Rider started volunteering at the HEB PTA Clothes Closet.

“I walked in and it was, this is where you’re supposed to be,” Rider remembered.

Joyce Rider – cancer survivor, HEB PTA Clothes Closet (CBS 11)

Over the years, the clothes closet has grown to include two portable buildings and several rooms behind Central Junior High School in Euless.

Before the cancer diagnosis, Rider said she had known hard times.

“I grew up in an extremely poor family. I was made fun of. I don’t like to see that,” said Rider.

It’s that motivation that allows her to focus on the children.

“My goal here is to make sure our children have clean clothes and they look like everybody else, so that I can’t tell that you only have $50 instead of $50,000,” said Rider.

She’s been cancer-free for 17 years. She said she has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

“I guess that’s the reason I’m still here,” said Rider.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the CDC, an estimated 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year.

Read more about the disease here:

Jennifer Lindgren