Community Activist Marin Friends of Women
Redwood High School Breast Cancer Awareness Club

Rosamaria Hayden does more than wear the mantle of community leadership. Her activism led her to champion the rights of Spanish-speaking women to access breast health information, early detection and breast cancer services. Through her work with the Marin Friends of Women, she participated in an examination of the services that were available to non-English speaking women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time, the absence of specialized services for Spanish-speaking women and the stories she heard compelled her to begin filling the void. A mother of five daughters herself, when Rosamaria heard the story of the young woman who brought her nine-year-old daughter to the medical exam to translate, she felt deeply moved. She said, "That nine-year-old was the first to tell her mother that the woman had breast cancer."

She vowed to make a difference through education, outreach and translation to Latina, Asian, African American and diverse communities in Marin. An avid community volunteer, she has worked with partners through Marin Friends of Women and the Marin Women's Commission to establish an outreach program at the Breast Health Center of Marin General Hospital. Through her uniquely designed "patient navigation" programs, Rosamaria volunteers translation, scheduling and transportation services to increase women's access to breast cancer screening and treatment. Originally from El Salvador, she holds a degree in International Business from Dominican College and understands the value of knowledge in making clear decisions. She works with many partners to reduce the barriers that language and economics can represent. She currently serves as a diverse community advisor to Marin Breast Cancer Watch.

Coordinating early detection services and mobile mammography appointments for the Marin Health Connections, she also currently works to promote breast cancer awareness and prevention with a multitude of local and statewide cancer programs. Most importantly, Rosamaria is a leader, peer educator and advocate recognized for implementing her vision of a compassionate and caring Marin community.

Colleen Kleier is just the kind of activist the world needs. She is young, intelligent, involved, and committed to the future. She wants to be a teacher. When asked why she formed the Breast Cancer Awareness Club at Redwood High School, this 17-year old junior responded, "I'd read about Marin's high incidence of breast cancer and I thought about myself, my friends, my future children and I wanted to do something."

Living in Marin and her family history made the issue real. Colleen was barely a year old when she lost her maternal grandmother to breast cancer. This student knows that change happens one person at a time, so she set out to gain the support of the school administration and her fellow students. To raise awareness about breast cancer research and prevention, the Breast Cancer Awareness Club at Redwood High School meets every week at lunchtime, often inviting guest speakers from organizations like Marin Breast Cancer Watch. Colleen also participates in community events as a club representative, including the Bay Area Breast Cancer and the Environment Center project.

The club doesn't stop there. This group seeks out like-minded people, willing to invest in the future. They organize fundraisers, help with projects at the Breast Health Center and volunteer for Marin Breast Cancer Watch's community events. The club then donates their fundraising proceeds to a cancer organization voted upon by the membership. This is wonderful work for one so young. If Colleen Kleier is the future, we are in good hands.

Pin It