In thanks to Emma Quintana and her support group Mujeres Valientes

Every community has certain people who make a difference. Whether it’s in their volunteer efforts, their financial donations and the like, so many are difference-makers and they often go below the radar on their own volition.

In West Hudson, one such person is Emma Quintana, of Kearny, a woman who fought — and defeated — breast cancer two decades ago.

That time period was one of the most difficult for Emma. There were so many unknowns. Would she defeat this hideous disease? Would her family be there to support her?

Fortunately, the answer to both is “yes.”

But you see, Emma didn’t just beat breast cancer — she took what she experienced and turned it into one of the most noted, successful cancer support groups, Mujeres Valientes, in the area.

The group is designed for anyone who has experienced the effects of breast cancer, as a patient or as the loved one of a patient. At first, they met at the former West Hudson Hospital. When the hospital closed, meetings moved to East Newark.

To this very day, scores of women and men have been able to meet, to talk, to express the emotions of suffering from breast cancer.

And because Emma decided that it wasn’t enough just to conquer breast cancer, so many people’s lives have been made better because of her efforts.

In the coming days, when you see pink ribbons tied on many trees in West Hudson, stop for a moment. Think of Emma. Recall that 12% of all women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. Know that in 2020, “an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S.”

Then realize what Emma does is priceless. We know we couldn’t be more grateful.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.