GOSHEN – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has named Maritza Calderon-Caballero as October’s Citizen of the Month Award winner.
Calderon-Caballero, a mother of two from the Town of Newburgh, was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago and now works closely with the American Cancer Society (ACS) as a breast cancer awareness advocate.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, an annual campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness about the disease and to raise funds for research into its causes, as well as prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.
“Maritza’s courageous battle with breast cancer has been an inspiration to her friends, family and the community,” Neuhaus said. “Most of us have been affected by breast cancer in some way and we are all grateful for the work that she does with the American Cancer Society to promote awareness about this disease. Like Maritza, the County is committed to raising awareness about breast cancer, and I’m honored to recognize her for her efforts.”
Calderon-Caballero, a pharmacist, found a lump in her breast in April of 2016 and was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after. She underwent a lumpectomy in June of that year. A lumpectomy is the surgical removal of the cancerous breast tissue along with a rim of normal tissue surrounding it.
Even before her diagnosis, Calderon-Caballero, a lifelong Orange County resident, supported the American Cancer Society by participating in Zumbathons, an exercise fitness program which benefits a cause. She usually organizes a huge Zumba event to raise money for her team, the Pink Zumberinas to support Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
Calderon-Caballero, a Zumba instructor, supports other non-profits, including the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, which raises awareness about women’s heart health. She is also a Board Member with Safe Harbors of the Hudson, a mixed-use, non-profit housing and arts redevelopment project. Calderon-Caballero is also active with the We Are Newburgh community group.
She and her husband, Richard, have been married for 20 years. The couple has two children, Taina, 19, and Jaden, 17.
“After my diagnosis, I was inspired to help get the word out about the importance of early detection, self-checks and mammograms,” Calderon-Caballero said. “If I didn’t self-check and go for mammograms I could have been in a far worse condition. Early detection needs to be brought to the forefront and I’m grateful that County Executive Neuhaus is recognizing my story and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
Calderon-Caballero is now cancer-free and is looking forward to this year’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer drive-through/pink parade, which will be held on Sunday, October 18th at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. Individuals, companies, friends and neighbors can register online at www.makingstrideswalk.org/hudsonvalley. There is no fee to register, though contributions and donations are greatly appreciated.
Neuhaus introduced his Citizen of the Month Award, which acknowledges outstanding Orange County residents, in January of 2017. To nominate someone for the Citizen of the Month Award, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a letter to “Citizen of the Month” at 255-275 Main Street Goshen, N.Y. 10924. Be sure to include the nominee’s name, hometown, a list of their accomplishments, why you are nominating them and any other pertinent information.