Elena Huelva Palomo: A Champion in the Fight Against Cancer
Elena Huelva Palomo (21 May 2002 – 3 January 2023) was a remarkable Spanish activist, influencer, and writer who left an indelible mark in the realm of cancer awareness and advocacy. Her life was a testament to unwavering determination and a commitment to making a difference.
A Voice for Ewing Sarcoma
Born on 21 May 2002 in Seville, Spain, to parents Manuel Huelva and Emilia Palomo, Elena’s life took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma at the tender age of 16, on 3 January 2019. This rare and aggressive form of cancer didn’t deter Elena; instead, she decided to use her experience to shed light on the disease and its impact on young lives.
Amplifying Awareness through Social Media
Elena Huelva embarked on a mission to raise awareness about Ewing sarcoma and advocate for increased investment in cancer research. With a strong presence on social media, she reached out to a vast audience, amassing a staggering 950,000 followers on Instagram. Through her candid and heartfelt posts, Elena shattered misconceptions and myths surrounding childhood bone cancer.
A Resilient Spirit: “Mis Ganas Ganan”
Elena Huelva’s journey was defined by her resilience and unwavering spirit. She coined the phrase “Mis ganas ganan” (English: “My will wins”) to encapsulate her unwavering determination to overcome the disease. This mantra became an inspiration for many facing their own battles.
Championing Cancer Research
Since 2019, Elena collaborated with numerous non-profit organizations dedicated to cancer-related causes. Her efforts extended beyond social media activism. In 2022, she authored the book “Mis ganas ganan. Nadie nos ha prometido un mañana, vive el presente” (English: “My will wins. Nobody has promised us a tomorrow, live the present”), where she candidly shared her journey with cancer.
Her advocacy and increased visibility of Ewing sarcoma had a tangible impact. Private initiatives saw a surge in donations, and Elena’s work exposed the need for greater public funding in Spain for research into this rare disease.
Awards and Recognition
Elena’s tireless efforts didn’t go unnoticed. In 2022, she received the prestigious Premio Bormujeres in the field of Youth and Communication, conferred by the city council of Bormujos. Later that year, she was honored with the Hope Award from Elle magazine, presented to her by singer Manuel Carrasco.
A Lasting Contribution to Research
In December 2022, Elena designed a scarf for the “Baby Pelón” toy, a project launched by the Juegaterapia Foundation to raise funds for Ewing sarcoma research. The foundation, in collaboration with the Spanish Group for Sarcoma Research (GEIS), established the “Elena Huelva Grant” to further support this vital cause.
A Fond Farewell
Tragically, Elena Huelva passed away on 3 January 2023, at the age of 20, after a prolonged battle with her illness. Her untimely departure triggered an outpouring of grief across social media platforms. Esteemed public figures, including TV presenter Sara Carbonero, singers Pastora Soler and Manuel Carrasco, musician Alejandro Sanz, actress Ana Obregón, and President of the Government of Andalusia Juan Manuel Moreno, all expressed their condolences.
Elena’s funeral service took place on 4 January 2023 and was attended by luminaries such as Sara Carbonero and film director Alberto Rodríguez Librero. She was cremated in the mortuary-crematorium of Camas, Seville.
Honoring Elena’s Memory
In a touching tribute, on 5 January 2023, Real Betis dedicated their victory over CD Ibiza Islas Pitiusas during the Copa del Rey match to Elena. This heartfelt gesture exemplified the impact she had on the hearts of many.
A Legacy of Hope
Two months after her passing, it was announced that the proceeds from sales of the “Baby Pelón” toy, designed by Elena Huelva, amounted to an impressive €87,000. This generous contribution to Ewing sarcoma research, facilitated through the “Elena Huelva Grant,” enabled Spanish participation in the international clinical trial Inter-Ewing-1.
Elena Huelva Palomo’s legacy lives on as an enduring source of inspiration, a symbol of unwavering determination, and a champion for those battling cancer.