As director of special projects, Yolanda “Yoly” Hernandez, is passionate about raising funds for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Our team of experts discover, develop, and deliver the world’s most effective ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer,” Hernandez says. “Most importantly, funds raised for Sylvester stay in South Florida, guaranteeing that the day you or a loved one may need cancer treatment, you won’t need to go very far.”
A cancer survivor who has been in remission for more than 25 years, Hernandez is also a top fundraiser for the Dolphins Cycling Challenge (DCC), the annual tri-county event held in partnership with the Miami Dolphins to raise funds for Sylvester. A virtual rider who will cheer for Team UM Sylvester and all the other cyclists during the fifth challenge February 7-8, Hernandez says the secret to her fundraising prowess is passing on her enthusiasm for the DCC to colleagues, family, friends, and grateful patients. “They understand the importance of this fundraiser and rally behind me every year.”
After earning her bachelor of arts degree, Hernandez began working at UM’s School of Medicine in 1972 as an assistant to Robert Zeppa, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery. She then worked for the Department of Oncology, chaired by G. Zubrod, as an assistant to Dr. Nathaniel Berlin. She became development officer at Sylvester in 1992. “I’m proud to say that I’ve been with Sylvester since the first day, and I’m still here,” she says. “This is a job I do with all my heart. Every day, I talk with our faculty, our nurses, and our patients about why Sylvester is so special. Every time our researchers make a new discovery, the whole benefits from their work.”
Along with her husband, Carlos, Hernandez raised a ’Cane—their daughter Rebecca, who in 2008 earned two UM degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Motion Pictures and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. She then continued her studies at New York University and graduated with a master’s degree as a specialist in film and media restoration and archiving.
“I believe it’s important for employees to support our University,” Hernandez says. “If you feel a connection with one of our schools or programs, you can show your gratitude by making a financial contribution. Every gift makes a difference, no matter how large or small.”
Read about other faculty and staff who support the U.