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Nursing school to benefit from 'lucky' grant

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A safe place to heal
  • Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega opened a hospital in Juarez, Mexico, 30 years ago
  • Even as violence plagues the city, De La Vega continues to oversee the hospital's care
  • De La Vega said she will use the $25,000 CNN Heroes prize to help open a nursing school
  • Ciudad Juarez
  • Mexico
  • Nursing

Editor's note: CNN Heroes received more than 10,000 nominations from 100 countries, and a Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year. Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year continues through November 18 (6 a.m. ET) at The winner will be announced at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which airs Thanksgiving night, November 25, at 8 ET.

(CNN) -- CNN Top 10 Hero Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital in Juarez, Mexico, that cares for about 900 people daily -- regardless of their ability to pay.

The 74-year-old El Paso, Texas, resident travels to Juarez several times a week, despite escalating violence, to provide continuing care for people in the murder capital of the world.

CNN: How does it feel to be selected as a Top 10 CNN Hero?

Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega: I was moved by this nomination and am very proud for the recognition that CNN is giving to a program that we started 37 years ago in the search for equality and justice. This distinction does not belong to me. The many people I work with who work indefatigably to contribute to our program -- voluntary community outreach workers ("promotoras"), medical doctors, nurses, interns, social workers, psychologists, administrative personnel, donors and others -- are the real heroes. Thank you to CNN for all of this.

CNN: What will this international recognition mean for your work?

De La Vega: Every step forward we have taken and achieved has been with tremendous effort. Now, all of a sudden, CNN recognizes our lifelong work and gives us incredible exposure to the outside world that we never had before. I think this may multiply the generosity of many who will help us to satisfy the enormous needs that we have in Ciudad Juarez in our constant struggle to improve and save lives of more women, children and men.

CNN: How will you use the $25,000 award that you receive for being selected as a Top 10 CNN Hero, and what will this mean to your work?

De La Vega: The award is for me a "lucky" grant -- the first resources to build our new nursing school that will change the lives of thousands of young women and help satisfy the need for nurses in the El Paso del Norte Region. We have to make another school of nurses, but there are too many girls that come who we don't have space for. This will change the lives of all those girls that find jobs. .... This initiative will help us find partners to join our work, where our goal is the smile of a healthy child in the arms of a free, empowered and self-realized mother.