Lydia Esparra serves as celebrity host of Torch Run |
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Lydia Esparra, Emmy-winning news anchor at WOIO Channel 19, was celebrity host of the "Torch Run" benefit for outreach programs and services of Church Street Ministries.
Esparra was at the event, held Sunday, Sept. 16 at the First Church of Berea, to sign copies of her inspirational book, "Heaven is All Around You."
A portion of book sales at the Torch Run will benefit the "Memby Memorial for Cancer Patients," a foundation established by Esparra to assist Cleveland and Youngstown area cancer patients with expenses.
"Heaven is All Around You" has a wonderful, uplifting message for children and adults who are dealing with the death of a parent. The book was inspired by the experience of Esparra's discussion with her two young nieces after her sister Memby's death. Minerva "Memby" Esparra was a popular salsa singer who received national acclaim. She performed in Puerto Rico, Miami, New York and Youngstown and sang at the San Juan Hotel with the Jorge Young Trio.
In 2007 Memby died from colon cancer at the age of 42, leaving behind two young daughters, Mariela, 7, and Rosalia, 6.
"Memby did not have the words to tell her two daughters she was dying of colon cancer," said Esparra. "I had a dream about sharing my sister's story to help other people. I guess it was sort of a healing process for me. I just felt it was the right thing."
Esparra is a Youngstown native and a graduate of Ursuline High School and Ohio State University. She comes from a family of 10 children and was a member of the family band, described by Memby Esparra as "the Puerto Rican version of the Partridge Family."