A Lewisville woman is making it her mission to help Latinas survive breast cancer and overcome cultural and communication barriers along the way.
Since her own diagnosis in September 2006, Nicole Vazquez, 38, has wanted to help other people survive breast cancer.
Her efforts have gotten her national attention. She was recognized by General Mills as one of five "survivor ambassadors" for the company's national breast cancer awareness campaign, Pink Together.
"My mission really is to share my stories," she said. "To share it with Latina women -- that is to me going above and beyond what I would normally do, because that's part of my culture and to engage in that is empowering to me."
Vazquez said felt she connected with people in the crowd at a recent speaking engagement.
"There's a young lady who -- when I was talking to her about it -- she had tears in her eyes, and she was age 30," she said. "And she had been watching the development of changes in her breast over the past couple of years."
As part of Pink Together, Vazquez' face appeared on cereal boxes, granola bars and more.
"Several people have actually Facebooked me and said, 'Hey, I had cereal with you this morning,'" she said. "It's been really fun, because then I say, 'I'm glad to be sharing this experience with you for breakfast.'"
Vazquez said she embraces the opportunity to help Latinos learn to take charge of their health and to ask for help. She describes herself as a "walking billboard for survivorship."
"Look at me, I'm a testimony to how it can be OK," she said. "Even if you did have cancer, even if you are diagnosed, you can still fight it. You can also overcome it. Ninety-eight percent of the people who are diagnosed in the United States these days are surviving it."