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2022 “Woman of Distinction

Suffolk County Legislator Manuel Esteban (R-Commack) announced March 21 that Commack resident Maria Teresa Romero has been named the Suffolk County’s 2022 “Woman of Distinction” for her work in founding Latina Sisters Support, Inc., which provides outreach, education and support about breast cancer to non-English speaking women.

“Today we are making history,” said Esteban. “As Suffolk County’s first Hispanic Republican Legislator, having the honor of naming the very first Hispanic Woman of Distinction will forever be a highlight of my brand-new career in government.”

Ms. Romero is the first Hispanic woman to receive this distinguished honor since the first award was presented in 2003.  She was chosen to represent the 16th Legislative District by Legislator Esteban, who is also the first Hispanic Republican representing this district.

Ms. Maria Teresa Romero is a Breast Cancer survivor of eleven (11) years.  She  turned her own experiences into a pillar of strength for all Latina and Hispanic women and founded Latina Sisters Support, Inc. to address and resolve the disparities in access to quality healthcare and breast cancer awareness amongst the Latino community. Unlike most nonprofit organizations who receive grants, Ms. Romero has personally funded this the organization with both personal funds and private donations.

“Ms. Romero saw a true need and continues to work day and night to provide services to Hispanic women who are fighting breast cancer,” said Legislator Esteban. “Her dedication is boundless, and she has helped hundreds of women and their families facing the sometimes-deadly diseases.

The very journey that women feel helpless, scared, hopeless, extremely ill during periods of chemo treatment, and the disparity of not having insurance at all to treat this life and death illness.

“It is an honor to recognize Maria Teresa Romero as the 2022 “Woman of Distinction” for Suffolk County.  Professionally and personally, she is a leader among women and is deserving of this recognition due to her overwhelming compassion for others and life’s purpose.  She is devoted to helping cancer patients not only survive, but provide them and their families hope for a better tomorrow,” said Legislator Esteban.

A humble, Ms. Romero said, “I am most proud and excited to be the recipient of the Woman of Distinction of Suffolk County, I assure you that this award will serve as a motivator for all my future endeavors. I will continue to strive on bringing kindness and awareness to the world and spread a message of love and unity allowing my moral compass to lead the way. My life changed drastically by being diagnosed with cancer and within seconds my purpose on earth also changed. I want to establish resources and services for women that are going through cancer. The Women are indeed the drivers of my motivation.”

On behalf of the Suffolk County Women’s Advisory Commission, Chair Tina Norton said, “I would like to congratulate Maria Teresa Romero, Winner of the 2022 Woman of Distinction Award. She rose to the top of our review of this year’s nominees. Her steadfast commitment to women facing cancer diagnosis and her tireless support along their journey speaks volumes to her role as a distinguished community leader. She represents the best of who we are and is a model for how we lift one another up throughout life‘s highs and lows!”

Office of Women’s Services, Grace Ioannidis, Director stated, “As we celebrate the Platinum Anniversary of this award, Maria Teresa Romero represents exactly what this is all about. She dedicates everyday of her life fighting for the dignity and survival of women with cancer.”

Legislator Esteban along with his colleagues will honor and present Ms. Romero with a proclamation before the full the Legislature at their scheduled General Meeting on Tuesday, March 29 around 10 am.