By Alanna Kennedy
Remembrance: M. Carolina Hinestrosa
By Alanna Kennedy
Breast cancer patient advocate M. Carolina Hinestrosa died of soft tissue sarcoma in her home on June 21. She was 50 years old.
Hinestrosa was the executive vice president for programs and planning at the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). She also co-founded the Latina cancer support and advocacy organization Nueva Vida in 1996, two years after her own breast cancer diagnosis. Latina breast cancer patients are often immigrants to the United States and face unique cultural challenges, such as putting family before their own health, says Ivis Febus-Sampayo, the director of the cancer support organization LatinaSHARE, which serves the Spanish-speaking population of New York City. Hinestrosa was “very passionate about helping other Latinas and all women with breast cancer,” says Febus-Sampayo.
Hinestrosa wanted all women to have access to the best possible medical care and she wasn’t afraid to push for it, says Larisa Caicedo, the executive director of Nueva Vida. “Carolina was an activist’s activist, willing to ask difficult questions of powerful people,” explains Fran Visco, the president of the NBCC. “She truly understood the science and had the ability to disagree with scientists while continuing to be their friend.”
As dedicated as she was to her work, Hinestrosa still found time for her family. She was devoted to her husband, Michael Moses, and teenage daughter, Isabel Hinestrosa, says Caicedo. “She always said her daughter was her inspiration for her advocacy.”
And Hinestrosa in turn inspired others. “She was a warm, loving and caring woman,” says Febus-Sampayo. “We’ve lost an incredible advocate.”
(photo credit: The family of Carolina Hinestrosa)