SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- Cindy Guzman, who has danced her way through life as a dancer then a choreographer for top talent like Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston and Usher, has been in the fight of her life battling breast cancer.
A Sleepy Hollow native now living in Tarrytown, Guzman, her husband, Mario, and children, Ava and Julian, sister Dianne McCarthy and her extended family have been joined in their fight by close friends and their community with a planned fund-raiser to set for August 3.
"We have received so much outpouring, support and generosity from our community that leaves me speechless," Guzman said. "Many local businesses have made donations for the fund-raiser.
Guzman, who now teaches dance at her Sleepy Hollow Performing Arts Center, said she has had the support of her best friend Samantha Hidalgo and Irvington businesswoman Leann Cerrito and Love, Leann boutique as well as the McCarthy family, and her mother, Maleno Praino.
"(Samantha) is the one who has put this fund-raiser all together," Guzman said "She has been with me every step of the way from when I was first diagnosed in December 2013, to all my visits with Sloan (along with my other friend Michelle Sampaio), through my double mastectomy and all my chemo rounds, she has been by my side along with my family."
And survival has motivated Guzman to educate other women about their health.
"It means so much to us to be able to get the word out to raise breast cancer awareness," Guzman said. "I want to let people know how important a mammogram is because that is what found my tumor. It was way back towards my chest wall so I would have never felt the lump. Mammos save lives. I can't tell you how many people have come up to me to tell me 'because of you I went for my mammo'. It has been the most amazing feeling."
Guzman said she continues to enjoy her family, her work, her art and her teaching despite the enduing her cancer struggle.
"I love all my students and it's brings my so much joy to watch them have fun while they are dancing," she said.
And Guzman's lifelong dance continues as she shares her experience with her community.