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October 18th, 2010
01:58 PM ET

CNN Hero: 'This distinction does not belong to me. The many people I work with… are the real heroes.'

CNN Hero Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital that cares for about 900 people in Juarez, Mexico daily -- regardless of their ability to pay.

CNN Hero Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital that cares for about 900 people in Juarez, Mexico daily - regardless of their ability to pay.

Programming Note: CNN Heroes received more than ten thousand nominations from 100 countries. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year. Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year continues through November 18th (6am ET) at CNNHeroes.com

GUADALUPE ARIZPE DE LA VEGA
Editor's Note: CNN Hero Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital that cares for about 900 people in Juarez, Mexico daily - regardless of their ability to pay. Despite the city’s escalating violence, the 74-year old El Paso, Texas, resident still travels there several times a week to provide continuing care.

I was moved by this nomination and am very proud for the recognition that CNN is giving to a program that we started 37 years ago in the search for equality and justice. This distinction does not belong to me. The many people I work with, who work indefatigably to contribute to our program - voluntary community outreach workers (“promotoras”), medical doctors, nurses, interns, social workers, psychologists, administrative personnel, donors and others – are the real heroes.

FEMAP is a bi-national organization that promotes the empowerment of people. Our main objective is to raise the quality of life of people living in poverty through research, education, community participation, high quality medical services and social and economic development programs.

Every step forward we have taken and achieved has been with tremendous effort. Now, all of a sudden, CNN recognizes our lifelong work and gives us incredible exposure to the outside world that we never had before. I think this may multiply the generosity of many who will help us to satisfy the enormous needs that we have in Ciudad Juarez in our constant struggle to improve and save lives of more women, children and men.

In his artistic testament, the great French sculptor August Rodin reminds us that the true mission of art is to find and to express the inner power of a subject. The recipients of our services, the staff and the “promotoras” of our programs do never forget the mission of our work: the empowerment of people by releasing the inner power of their dignity, equality and respect.

The award that I receive from CNN for being one of the Top 10 Heroes of 2010 is for me a “lucky” grant - the first resources to build our new nursing school that will change the lives of thousands of young women and help satisfy the need for nurses in the El Paso del Norte Region. This will change the lives of all those girls who find jobs. This initiative will help us find partners to join our work, where our goal is the smile of a healthy child in the arms of a free, empowered and self-realized mother.

VOTE FOR THE CNN HERO OF THE YEAR
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