Inspiring Latina of the Week: Breast Cancer Awareness Advocate Monique Barraza

Monique Barraza is a breast cancer awareness advocate for the Latina community. After losing her mother to breast cancer back in 2005, Monique started the Abigail Barraza Foundation, an organization that unites Latinas in the fight against breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Hispanic women–something that many Latinas are clueless about. Based in Los Angeles, Monique teaches breast cancer awareness courses, hosts support groups, and mentors young girls in her community about early detection. Monique also produces a fashion line (launching in the Spring of 2014) which will be geared towards Latinas and raising breast cancer awareness.

For her passion, drive and hard work in the Hispanic community, Monique Barraza is this week’s Inspiring Latina.

Tell us a little about the Abigail Barraza Foundation. 

I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that the trials that you go through in life, help define you as the person that you are today.

Eight years ago I lost my Mother Abigail Barraza to breast cancer. June 10, 2005, was the worst day of my life, but also the day I learned of my true calling. As I went back to my mother's house, I sat in her bedroom and thought to myself, “I can turn my mothers death into a negative or a positive.” I chose the positive approach. I wanted women to be aware, and take a proactive approach to educating themselves about the importance of self-awareness and education. I started a charity in honor of my mother.

The Abigail Barraza Foundation provides breast cancer awareness and education in undeserving areas in Los Angeles and throughout California. We also teach at the local women’s shelters and treatment centers, hospitals and community centers in Hispanic communities (where there is a lack of awareness ) and it has been extremely successful. The foundation has traveled to Santa Barbara and Ventura, to make house calls and to be of support to the families that are fighting cancer. 

Many low-income women don't have the funds that are needed to fight cancer. We help to raise money and host fashion fundraisers, then present them with a check to pay for medical expenses or household necessities.