Marilyn Mattei, Mother, Heroine, and Breast Cancer Survivor
Marieli Cedeno: "Marlilyn Mattei... My mom, my heroine, my warrior. She is a humble woman, full of love, kindness, and resilience. She is a role model for younger women everywhere.. Marilyn is a Breast Cancer survivor; along with two other survivors, she founded Rincon de Esperanza, a non- profit dedicated to helping patients navigate the Cancer treatment process. The organization provides patients with support, education and guidance, and even companionship during chemotherapy. Rincon de Esperanza ultimately aims to give the patient hope during their cancer journey.
Marilyn's work doesn't stop there, she also helped with Puerto Rico's disaster relief with Hurricane Maria, earthquakes, and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is always looking for an opportunity to help others. Some super heroes do not wear capes!"
Tell us more about your relationship with your mother...
It's an adventure... She's my number one fan. A true inspiration and my support system.
What do you love the most about Marilyn?
I love her energy. She is always very positive.
What have you learned from Marilyn from her non-profit work?
I have learned that we are very blessed as a family because we have each other during this time. A lot of patients go through this alone, and it was very difficult and sad to watch. I have also learned that money is not everything in life. We have the power to support each other and provide a safe space. Empathy, kindness... Those are what matter at the end of the day.
In August of 2013, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a difficult time, but I'm grateful to be a survivor. With two other survivors who have now passed away, I founded the non-profit "Rincon de Esperanza," where I support other cancer patients in Yauco, Puerto Rico.
Tell us a bit about your journey with being a breast cancer survivor...
I feel like I have been given a fresh start again. I have seen life in another perspective and see the world in a different way. I have more empathy in life, I love more and as often as I can.
What is Rincon de Esperanza? What motivated you to start this non-profit?
I started “Rincon de Esperanza” because it was very difficult for me to watch patients go through the cancer process alone. I wanted to provide hope without any interest in a financial gain. “Rincon de Esperanza” is a non-profit organization that gives support to patients. It provides guidance on the cancer treatment process, education, orientation, prevention, and companionship during chemotherapy. Cancer is a journey that never ends, so I wanted to give people the love, attention, and support they need to alleviate some of the burden… It’s so important to be positive during chemotherapy. Emotions are very important during the journey to have good results with the medicine.
If I had a magic wand, I would..
Your greatest challenge...
Seeing my sibling cry.
Eat and travel, especially with my daughter. I love exploring the world and trying new things! Spain is my favorite destination so far.
My mantra is everything passes, and new things will come. I look at life in a different way now and I know that what is meant for me will come to me.