Cancer survivor helps East LA families who are battling cancer get ready for back to school

Eric Resendiz Image
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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Dressed in pink, this breast cancer survivor has been helping East L.A. families who are battling cancer get ready for back to school.

BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dressed in pink Isabel Guillen, a breast cancer survivor has been pulling in to families' driveways getting them ready for back to school by giving them school supplies.

"It means a lot because they...for days have been asking me for the things," Salud Garcia, a cancer patient said in Spanish. "I didn't have the possibility of buying them crayons and notebooks."

Guillen is a single mother of four who started her organization 'Chavelyta's Pink Hood' to help families who are currently battling cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.

"I had a bilateral mastectomy," Guillen said. "It was hard...financially I couldn't afford a backpack. I couldn't afford the things the school was asking for."

Cancer is a battle Guillen and her family knows all too well.

"My third month into treatment, my father was diagnosed with stage four colon-rectal cancer," said Guillen. "He lost his battle and that's how 'Chavelyta's Pink Hood started,' because of my father."

She has been helping families for 9 years with different events like pamper days for mom and back to school supplies.

"It's an organization that just wants to provide the support patients need, that I knew that I needed when I was going through treatment," Guillen said.

"She understands how it is, she passed through it," said Abigail Alcaraz, a teenager in LAUSD who received school supplies from Guillen. "So, she knows what is it like to be struggling to go get stuff and go buy all of that."

Guillen and her father would talk about how to help families while both were in chemo. She says she'll continue to help to honor him.

"So my dad, we would look and see like how these patients were there by themselves," said Guillen. They had no support and that's what inspired me and that's what made me want to give back and do something for them."

Guillen is able to help families with donations she receives from community members. She can be reached on Facebook and Instagram @chavelytaspinkhood