Oscar De La Hoya is an Olympic gold medalist, a prominent boxing promoter and the owner of 11 world titles in the ring, in a half-dozen different weight classes no less.
Today, he just wants to be one of the people who helps breast cancer patients.
To that end, the former graduate of James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles recently donated $1 million to Adventist Health White Memorial in Boyle Heights to support local breast cancer patients.
In the U.S., according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Latina and Hispanic women are diagnosed with breast cancer at more advanced stages and are 30% more likely to die from the disease than their non-Latino white counterparts.
White Memorial, whose patients are 90% Latino, provides diagnostic and treatment options for all types and stages of cancer, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. In addition, the hospital offers a Breast Cancer Early Detection Program for individuals without health coverage, as well as continuous free and inexpensive screenings and education programs and a cost-free, Spanish Latina Breast Cancer Support Group.
Such offerings are made easier through the Cecilia Gonzalez De La Hoya Cancer Center, named after De La Hoya’s late mother, who was both treated and later succumbed to her disease at White Memorial in 1990. The center houses state-of-the-art equipment and the most advanced treatments in the county, according to the hospital’s website. A huge priority for the boxing champion, since his mother passed away from breast cancer at the age of 39, has become to make sure other women of LA affected by the disease are supported as much as possible.
“My connection to breast cancer is well-known, but I promise that every single person of means has a connection to an issue where those less fortunate are suffering,” De La Hoya said at the donation to White Memorial. “Today, as the city we live in faces deep-rooted problems, it is time for all of us to step up and be counted.”
De La Hoya is the first-ever Latino to own a world-renowned boxing promotional company. He is CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, an active and respected organization that has been presenting shows nationally since 2002.
Alongside this work, and in addition to aiding women with breast cancer, De La Hoya dedicates himself to improving the community he grew up in through the Oscar De La Hoya Foundation. The foundation operates the Oscar De La Hoya Ánimo Charter High School and the Oscar De La Hoya Labor and Delivery Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which are located at White Memorial in LA.
“Many people don’t know how involved [De La Hoya] is with the community he is from,” John Raffoul, president of White Memorial, said, according to Golden Boy Promotions, at the event. “We are excited and humbled by his consistent involvement with this hospital–from the Cancer Center to the Neonatal Intensive Care Center, to supporting local non-profits like Chavelyta’s. This donation will help tremendously with our efforts to support this community’s needs.”
The donation, made by De La Hoya in person, took place during a “Pamper Me” event, which provided makeup, nail, and wig applications to individuals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have completed breast cancer treatment, or have lost someone to breast cancer. The event was hosted by Chavelyta’s Pink Hood, a non-profit founded by cancer survivor Isabela Guillen, which supplies breast cancer patients with pampering days and school supplies for their children, help she, herself, could have used as a single mother diagnosed in 2010.
De La Hoya and his sister Cecilia De La Hoya’s commitment to investing in non-profits, such as Chavelyta’s Pink Hood, help immensely in giving women undergoing breast cancer treatment, Guillen, the founder of Chavelyta’s said.
“Chavelyta’s is a small non-profit, and we are thankful to both [his sister] Ceci and Oscar [De La Hoya] for everything they help support us in – from the food, make-up, wigs – everything we do to make people feel a little closer to normal when going through breast cancer treatment,” Guillen said at the “Pamper Me” event, according to Golden Boy Promotions. “This donation will go a long way to provide treatment to people like me.”
One patient of White Memorial, Martha Guzman, told Cision PR Newswire how much the LA native’s donations have meant to her and her quality of life.
“I had the great honor to personally say thank you to Oscar De La Hoya for this grand gift he has given, and for this opportunity at life he has given me and those who you could say don’t have a guaranteed safety net,” Guzman said. “Because of Oscar and this hospital, I get to see my son get married next May, exactly a year after my life-saving cancer surgery. I am a walking miracle, and it is because of this hospital.”
De La Hoya added: “I am here to help provide funding for life-saving cancer treatments that are desperately needed by the women in our community. But just as importantly, I am here to send a message to those who, like me, have been so fortunate in our lives.”