From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Entrant: Marie Perez
Nominee: Dr. Cheryl Holder, Internal Medicine
Sometimes in our lives, when we most need it, but least expect it, we find the person who we never thought we would find, “Our Hero.” And that is who I met in April 2006 when I suffered a pulmonary embolism, was hospitalized, and sent to a primary physician at the North Dade Health Center in Opa Locka, Florida.
At that present time, I had no money, was living (and still am) in a room in the house of a family member. I was suffering from a bad depression and it got to the point where life had no meaning for me. Until the first day Dr. Holder walked in the examination room and started to treat not just my sickness, but took me under her care. She was an angel sent from above, lifting me up from the bad depression I was going under.
This is a person, a doctor, we all need in our lives.
Her first sad experience was at the age of 12 when she lost her father. Some ambulance attendants decided he was not sick and didn’t bring him to a hospital. Yet, this didn’t make her change her devotion, care and love for medicine and outreach to helping others. On the contrary, she is always developing new programs to help and educate our community.
She developed Project Care (Community AIDS Reduction through Education). She raised more than $350,000 in funding for the Care program. At the North Dade Health Center that had around 16,000 patients, she was the head and successfully managed to pull the system together providing medical care to all of us that have no means.
Another of her many other great merits is F.I.U. School Of Medicine, which opened its doors in 2009. Many people have benefited from her contributions to this program. There are so many other awards and accomplishments that I could list, but it would be endless. Dr. Holder is a person who has no limitations when it comes to reaching out to others, educating, no matter what a person’s race or sex, or even if they have the means for medical assistance or not. She is always there.
Sadly, money comes first in medicine. But medicine is supposed to save lives, give hope, never give up, and fight till the end. That’s why she is a HERO, because she never leaves your side, and I can say that. Why? Because she never left mine. Life had meaning when she became the wind beneath my wings. For this, I have made her a web page and invite those of you who wish to meet my HERO to visit.