Annie Peña
By looking at Annie Peña today, you would never guess that six years ago she was faced with the fight of her life.
It was 2008, and she was a healthy and vibrant mother expecting another child. The family she started with her loving husband was growing, and her job working in the Human Resources Department at Hostos Community College was going well.
Then, eight months after giving birth to her second son, Peña felt a lump in her breast and knew something was wrong. Her doctor soon confirmed her worst fear: Peña was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at 36 years young.
Six years later, after a mastectomy, plastic surgery, 16 rounds of chemotherapy, and 25 debilitating rounds of radiation, Peña is alive.
Realizing she could not have come as far as she has without the support of her family, friends and co-workers, Peña is determined to get the message out that people who are fighting breast cancer also have someone in their corner.
“Silence is not going to help find a cure. That is why I do what I do,” Peña said. “I want to give back, by giving back I honor the people who helped me, and hopefully help others who are also going through this and are afraid to speak up. There is life after cancer and you are not alone.”
While she is cancer-free, she is still on medication and must visit her doctor every six months. Thankfully, Peña is healthy enough to take the fight to the disease that almost took her life.
Peña is now 43 and began raising money and awareness in 2009 through the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC) walking events. MSABC is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, uniting more than 300 communities.
Realizing that there is strength in numbers, Peña, also a 1999 Hostos alumna, expanded her one-woman army and recruited fellow Hostos co-workers and breast cancer survivors Marcia Alix-Mateo, Ana Rosado and Linda Scott and built their team called, “Hostos Angels for a Cure.”
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Hostos Angels are busy again, wearing pink, spreading hope and collecting donations to help find a cure. Sporting a cap with a pink ribbon (given to her by her loving and supportive husband) and a special breast cancer awareness T-shirt, Peña and her team worked the A-Atrium Bridge at Hostos on October 6. With the help and support from the Hostos Wellness Center, the Angels collected more than $450. The inspiring quartet raised $6,000 for last year’s MSABC event.

On Sunday, October 19, all four Hostos Angels will participate in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Central Park.

To donate to the Hostos Angels for a Cure effort, click here.
The annual American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event is Sunday, October 19, in Central Park and 72nd Street Bandshell. Registration will open at 7:30 a.m. and the event begins at 8:00 a.m.
About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services. 
Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.