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HAPBWA MEMBER DIES AFTER GIVING BIRTH TO BABY ~ Benny E. Abreu Viewing Finalized & Donation Fund Created to Provide Financial Assistance ~ [Orlando, FL] Benny Esmeralda Abreu, was born on December 12, 1984 in Connecticut. Proud to be Dominican, she resided in Florida where she touched the lives of everyone she met through her high spirits and joys of life. She attended University of Central Florida where she recently graduated with a Bachelor in Hospitality Management. She joined the sisterhood of Lambda Theta Alpha, Latin Sorority, Inc. (LTA) at UCF’s Beta Theta Chapter, proving to herself and everyone else what we already knew, how strong of a lady she was. Benny was an active member of LTA who held the chapter’s philanthropy chair position making mentoring for young Latinas her number one goal. It is through this measure that Benny came to HAPBWA. Intent on expanding the mentoring program and it’s scholarship beyond the borders of the university, Benny became a founding member of the Aspiring Latinas Ahora y Siempre (ALAS) committee. In 2000, Benny was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Last summer she suffered a heart-attack and had a defibrillator placed in her heart because her heart would stop beating at various moments. Benny got pregnant at the end of 2009. It was a true blessing and something she had not expected since she was told from a young age that she was not able to have children. It was a lot of stress on her heart to be pregnant but Benny was determined, against those who suggested abortion, to have the child. With the love and support from her fiancee, family, sorority sisters and HAPBWA members, she was able to make it to 34 weeks of her pregnancy. Benny gave birth on Monday, May 17th to Jovan Rafael Toliver II at 5lbs 2oz and he is doing well. Since the inception of her baby, she knew that he would have to be premature due to her heart condition because they could not risk her going to full term. Every day she was able to stay pregnant was a blessing. However, soon after having the baby by c-section, Benny's condition became severely critical. Her heart basically stopped working and was on severe distress due to the birth and anesthesia given to her for the c-section.

The heavens opened up on May 30, 2010 to enter such a wonderful person, who will look to take care of her loved ones from above. The life of Benny Esmeralda Abreu will be celebrated, not only because the world has gained an angel, but, as her sorority put it, because a Lambda Lady is forever and her legacy will live on. “I am so saddened by this loss. Heartfelt condolences go out to the family and Zoraida Velasco, the ALAS chair and Carolyn Vega-Melendez, our Public Relations chair, who are both very close to her. In an effort to assist the family with some much needed financial assistance, HABPWA will be giving a donation to the sorority who is matching funds through Friday of this week,” said Eva Pagan-Hill, HAPBWA President. We will also dedicate the next few meetings to her memory and make a collection among those who attend for this fund.” At the sorority’s national level, the National Organization intends on matching all funds donated to Benny's family for the purpose of paying for funeral arrangements and to support her new baby $1.00 for $1.00 up to $2,000 for all donations made by Friday June 4, 2010 at: Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated. Before Benny is put to rest alongside her father in Connecticut, a viewing service has been arranged by the sorority and her family in Orlando as listed below. In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation to the fund found at the link above. Benny E. Abreu Viewing Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 Newcomer Funeral Home 895 South Goldenrod Road, Orlando, FL 32822-8129 ***5:00pm to 9:00pm *** HAPBWA Board Members, Eva Pagan-Hill, Zoraida Velasco, Carolyn VegaMelendez and Beddie Nemcik will be at the viewing as of 6PM Should anyone have any questions, please feel free to email ###

6-2-10 Benny Abreu Donation Fund