When Ysabel Duran got in to television journalism some 42 years ago, I'm guessing she had no idea of the impact she would have on so many people, but I can tell you for certain that she has made a difference in this world because I'm one of many who has been inspired by her.
Some people on tv seem to be there just to make a name for themselves and then there are those like Ysabel Duran who seem to have been "called" to report the news accurately and fairly and to highlight the issues that need to be seen. Ms Duran has always been a class act and someone you know is going to give it to you straight.
I remember watching her on a San Jose tv station anchoring the evening news and was surprised to see her out in the field later on at a San Francisco station. For many, leaving the prestigious evening anchor desk would seem like a step down. Later she moved to the weekend morning anchor spot at a time when hardly anybody even did news on weekends. She was on the air when the Oakland Hills fire broke out and gave everybody the information they urgently needed.
Ysabel Duran was not just the woman reporting the news though, she was also making news. Her community involvement over the years has brought her a lot of recognition, but not nearly enough for all she has done and continues to do. As a cancer survivor she has been a truly bright light!
For many years I have been aware of various cancers because my grandmother had died from stomach cancer and my mother lived her last several years with leukemia, and ultimately died with lung cancer. Seeing Ysabel Duran on tv and hearing that she had cancer, got my attention. When the doctor first told Ms Duran the news, she wondered what she was supposed to get out of the experience. She also decided to report on herself and make her cancer struggle a news story. Out of this came a lot of information. Out of this also came the formation of a great organization.
Ysabel Duran is retiring tomorrow from her tv news job, but she will not lack for something to do. Ten years ago she created Latinas Contra Cancer, which provides counseling services for cancer patients who are typically neglected by the health care system. She continues to serve as Executive Director and plans to devote more time there after leaving her "day job."
Tomorrow is also her birthday and celebrating that, in just about 24 hours, Ysabel Duran will begin her very last television newscast. Some people never really retire though. Thank you Ysabel Duran for being one of those people and for truly making a difference!