May 21, 2023
Thriving Pink’s ProspeROSA – a program aimed at providing outreach and support to the Latino and Spanish-speaking breast cancer community – held its first “cafecito” event Saturday at City Park in Woodland.
The event was the first since the program held since it held its open house in early March and welcomed several breast cancer “guerreras” – Spanish for warriors.
Several “guerreras” told their stories over coffee and pan dulce highlighting their struggles ranging from chemotherapy complications to common stigmas associated with breast cancer.
Letitia Garcia, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2016, said this was her first time attending a Thriving Pink event.
“I’ve known about the organization for about a year,” she explained. “I got this invite a couple of days ago and I said, ‘I have to go and be there with my gals,’ because we’re all going through this journey together.”
She noted that the journey is a difficult one and commended the program for providing a space for the Hispanic community to speak about their experiences.
“Especially our women who are not speaking, are afraid and need somebody to talk to and that they can connect with,” she stressed. “Come and join us, we’d love to have you.”
Maria Del Rio, the Spanish community coordinator for the program, said events like this were created because of a lack of support for the Latino population battling breast cancer.
“For Latinos, we’re very community-driven,” Del Rio remarked. “Building networks and sharing a meal, that’s meaningful and provides support.”
She explained that everyone attending has gone through similar struggles and is often more understanding of each other than relatives or friends who haven’t had breast cancer before.
Del Rio is herself a breast cancer survivor and argued that she would’ve benefited from a support group with other Latinas.
“I was diagnosed at 27 with stage two breast cancer and… my friends were there to support me, but I couldn’t find a network of people that was my age or knew someone who has gone through this,” she recounted.
When she learned about the program, Del Rio said she was thrilled to be a part of developing something for Yolo County’s Latino community.
“I wish I had that when I was going through chemo and through all of my treatment, which I’m still going through now,” she highlighted. “So it’s nice to see this community being built and just being a part of that.”
Dr. Alicia Silva, a chairperson for the program, spearheaded the creation of ProspeROSA after noticing that there was a lack of resources available for her Spanish-speaking patients.
“Today is a very special day because this is our very first event that’s really focused on Latinas in Yolo County having a get-together,” she argued. “I think it would be amazing if we could have a Latina support group.”
Silva also highlighted the need to create more awareness among the Latino community because although breast cancer rates for Latinos in Yolo County are roughly the same as the average rate for other communities, they are often diagnosed in more advanced stages leading to worse outcomes.
“So this is really important and really special,” she stressed.
ProspeROSA’s headquarters are located at 501 2nd St. in Davis and serve as a place for individuals to connect, build community, check out books and other resources in Spanish and English and participate in programs, according to Board of Directors Chair Joni Rubin.
The program has two upcoming events – a Spanish Zoom workshop at 5:30 p.m. on June 28 focusing on self-care for breast cancer survivors, and a Spanish workshop at 5:30 p.m. on July 6 featuring a leading genetics and breast cancer doctor.