It was 1994, “I remember it was a frigid month” …and one of my colleagues “rushed to my office to ask for help.” “He had one of three patients recently diagnosed with cancer, and she (from El Salvador) was in crisis waiting at his office. I had no experience in working with cancer patients…I had to jump right in and had my first experience counseling someone with cancer… (she) had been diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She was frozen, numb, in shock, since she had heard she would have to undergo a series of treatment and seemed very afraid and confused. She expressed she had beautiful young children and a very loving boyfriend. She wanted to be here for them and wanted to fight to the end. All I did was listen and contain her. I remember hugging her remaining silent to help her.” (Gloria Elliott)
As more breast cancer cases came to light a group of Latina breast cancer survivors and health professionals dreamt of founding a community based organization -not a clinic- that would cater to the needs of the Latina cancer community. Their dream came true in 1999 when Nueva Vida was incorporated as a non-profit organization, to fill the gap for culturally sensitive bilingual support services for the Latino community. Since its founding Nueva Vida has remained true to its mission of informing, supporting and empowering Latinas whose lives are affected by cancer and to advocate for and facilitate the timely access to state of the art cancer care, including screening diagnosis, treatment and support for all. For the last decades Nueva Vida has provided free, comprehensive, and culturally competent services in Spanish to Latinos with or at high-risk for developing cancer in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.