Isabel Villar

A Life-Changing Diagnosis

Life has been good to me. But I’m also aware of how fragile it can be.

When I was a teenager, my family and I moved from Cuba to the United States, guided by a dream for a better life. I quickly became involved in my community and later dedicated my career to helping the growing number of Hispanic families in White Plains, New York.

A Life-Changing Diagnosis

In 2008, I found out how difficult, yet critical, it is to place your trust in another’s hands. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer during a routine exam, and my life changed in an instant.

A friend helped me find the best care possible by recommending the renowned medical oncologists of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). I was inspired by the physicians, nurses, and other knowledgeable experts on my MSK team from the first moment I connected with them—and found that I did not have to fight cancer alone.

Isabel Villar

Isabel Villar outside of El Centro Hispano, where she is the Founding Executive Director.

The Importance of Community

As I reflected on the many challenges I faced during treatment, I realized I had an opportunity to continue helping others. Through El Centro Hispano, Inc., the Hispanic community center where I serve as Founding Executive Director, I began counseling others faced with cancer diagnoses. My goal for El Centro Hispano is to be there for the community in the same way that MSK was there for me: to offer guidance, support, and resources when the path forward is unclear.

Sharing Her Gratitude

I included MSK in my will to show my appreciation for the care I received. This is one way to ensure that MSK experts can forge ahead with cutting-edge discoveries and lifesaving treatments.

I have so much to be grateful for today. Because of MSK I am able to pursue my passion: helping my community to help themselves. I encourage you to join with me and make a future gift to MSK so that others can also live life to its fullest. We have to act quickly; we don’t have time to waste.

Join Isabel in Making a Difference

Just like Isabel, you can help people in your community facing cancer by remembering MSK in your will or other estate plans. Contact us at 800-688-1827 or to learn more.

To learn how you can make a meaningful gift to impact MSK patients for years to come, contact the Office of Gift Planning at or 800-688-1827.


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