SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 25, 2007) – Celia Thompson, an administrative assistant at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, today was named a Ford “Warrior in Pink,” giving her a national stage to share the inspiring tale of her and her daughter’s breast cancer survival.
Thompson, who is of Puerto Rican descent, already was undergoing breast cancer treatment in 2005 when she encouraged her daughter, Jessica, 30, to get a mammogram. It detected late-stage breast cancer.
Both of their lives were suddenly endangered by the No. 1 killer of Hispanic women.
But Thompson used her prayerful, resilient attitude to beat her cancer and found strength to travel on non-treatment weeks to support her daughter, who also beat cancer, creating a mother-daughter bond of love, courage and survival that she has since shared publicly and privately to promote breast cancer awareness and screening.
Thompson now will share her story in press materials and promotional events as one of three Hispanic “Warriors in Pink,” a Ford Motor Co. program that raises breast cancer awareness with educational outreaches and apparel. Ford also will give Thompson $1,000 to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an advocacy group fighting breast cancer.
“I am honored to be a ‘Warrior in Pink’ to help empower Hispanic women to fight breast cancer,” Thompson said. “Promoting early detection in our communities through monthly breast exams, mammograms and breast clinical exams is vital.”
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of death among Hispanic women, yet they are less likely to obtain medical information on the disease than other ethnic groups, according to the American Cancer Society.
This is why Ford launched its “Warriors in Pink” program in 2006. The program has a Web site, www.fordenespanol.com/saluddelseno, with Spanish-language information about breast cancer, early detection and screening, and also offers access to “Warriors in Pink” apparel and accessories featuring symbols that signify hope, strength and unity in the fight against breast cancer. All net sale proceeds go to Komen for the Cure.
This year, for the first time, Ford selected three Hispanic women who beat the disease and are striving to raise awareness on their communities – Thompson, Bertha Sandoval of Los Angeles and Ines Rodriguez of Miami – to represent the program.
Thompson, who was raised in New York but moved to San Antonio 25 years ago, was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 2005 and had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. A short while later, her daughter, a physician who had just finished a medical school residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Both survived.
Thompson’s positive attitude and strong-willed fight against breast cancer makes her a true “Warrior in Pink,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research, which is dedicated to eliminating health disparities among Latinos through research, education, training and outreach.
“Celia’s story touches listeners’ hearts and shows them that, with a positive attitude and prayer, strength is provided in the most difficult times,” said Dr. Ramirez, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Health Science Center, director of outreach and health care disparities at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center in San Antonio, and a member of the San Antonio Cancer Institute’s executive committee. “Celia is committed to empowering other Hispanic women to find hope and courage to fight breast cancer.”
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $14.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging,
transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.