Helping My Community Be Healthy

Desiree Moore

Myriam Escobar is being honored as a Champion of Change for helping Americans live healthier lives, reduce disease and contribute to lowering health care costs by focusing communities on public health and prevention.

I am a Community Outreach Worker at Moffitt Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center based in Florida. 

I enjoy being in the community and hearing firsthand the dreams, hopes and needs of the people I work with. I enjoy sharing with others -- and learning from them -- the simple things in life. When helping someone, it is not necessary to make large gestures. It’s the small details, like a friendly hand in the right moment that can change someone’s life forever. We just need to be aware by taking advantage of the resources and tools that life offers us, and to utilize them at the appropriate moment.  For this reason, I love my job. Every day is an opportunity to help someone.

I was born in Colombia and immigrated to this grand country with my husband and son where we learned that dreams can become a reality with effort, dedication, and hard work. I can say that we are the perfect example of what makes this a great country; the multicultural contributions each one of us brings to this country adds to its success.

In 2008 a very painful event occurred in our family.  My sister-in-law lost her battle against breast cancer at only 50 years old, leaving two teenage sons.  That was a pivotal moment in my life.  For reasons that only the Creator can explain, almost one month later I started working at Moffitt Cancer Center driving the mobile mammography bus that visited community clinics.  Two years later, our Program Manager bestowed upon me and my co-worker a program we call, Yo me cuido, I Take Care of Myself to address the needs of the Latino community. 

At that moment, I understood that this was the precise tool to change many lives, everyday women, the majority of them immigrants, with many dreams to accomplish.  My job consists of motivating women who attend our workshop to get their mammograms, demonstrate the importance of breast self-exam awareness and follow them to make sure they have their yearly mammograms. We visit women in their churches, work sites, neighborhoods, support groups, apartment complexes, beauty salons, schools, and libraries. Where there is a group of women, our program is there.

Yo me cuido teaches Hispanic women how to take care of their health through early detection screenings and healthy lifestyles, focusing on the prevention of breast cancer. 

We emphasize the importance that they have within our society, showing them how important it is that their healthy behaviors will be seen by their children and their entire families. 

I think it is important that community work transcends boundaries and working with women is the perfect opportunity. I am convinced that as women we can change the world from the heart of our own homes. 

Myriam Escobar is a Community Outreach Worker at Moffitt Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, where she runs a program in the Tampa Bay area in Florida, called Yo me cuido (I take care of myself). The program teaches Hispanic women to take care of themselves through early detection and by living a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on breast cancer prevention. 

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