The Chief Medical Officer, (CMO), Dr. Patrick Martin, has already made it known that last year, (in 2010); some 100 persons were diagnosed with cancer.
It is partly because of this growing problem that one organization in Nevis, the Pink Lily Cancer Care Foundation, has been stepping up its campaign to educate the public and women in particular, about the disease. They have also developed new initiatives that are designed to assist women in obtaining mammograms, as part of an early screening program.
According to a recent release, issued on behalf of the organization, “Another 100 women from Nevis stand to benefit from free mammograms during the second phase of the charity’s Breast Screening Program, thanks to well wishers and sponsors who have participated in Pink Lily Cancer Care’s fund raising activities”.
Despite the growing problem and the increase in related deaths, in recent years, it is the view of the founder of Pink Lily, Lea Parris-Cambridge, who herself survived the dreaded disease, 40% of cancers are preventable.
This is why her organization has been pushing the message to women that they need to take action on their own behalf to get tested. Cambridge wants women to understand and accept the value in early screening, echoing her mantra that “Cancer is not the death sentence it was known to be”.
For those women in Nevis who are keen to make use of the mammograms services being offered, Pink Lily has advised that the required forms can be obtained from health centres, doctors, and at the Alexandra Hospital. The organization is also willing to email said forms to anyone in need.
The press release from Pink Lily also confirmed that each mammogram is expected to cost about EC$250.00 that will be covered by the organization. The release quoted the charity’s support coordinator, Tracy Parris, as saying that the group will therefore be paying out approximately EC$25,000 for the 100 tests to be carried out.
Pink Lily indicated that the funds were raised over a period starting in 2010 and continuing this year, in 2011, through various activities that were hosted, including, a 5K Walk & Run, walkathons, sponsorships from various business groups such as Cape Air and Credit Union.
During the first phase of the Breast Screening Program 100 women were screened. Out of these women, a Netball icon and Sports Coordinator with the Education Department Nevis, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She has since received treatment and is back to her normal duties on the island, said the statement from Pink Lily.
Pink Lily Executive Director said the mammograms will be conducted at Dr Mark Hodge’s clinic in St. Kitts (as was phase 1 of the programme), adding that women who apply for the Pink Lily program, receive pre counseling – an education and awareness presentation about breast care, cancer and mammograms and is an opportunity for women to share their concerns and have their questions answered. Post-counseling guidance and support relating to diagnosis, treatment and recovery is offered to any women who are diagnosed with cancer.
Having been faced with both her mother and sisters diagnosis with cancer within 2 weeks of each other and the fear, anxiety, concern and relief that she felt, Tracy Parris, Pink Lily’s Support Coordinator, has been able to use her own personal experience to support Pink Lily clients and their families who are faced with cancer, said the release.
“Pink Lily has consulted widely with the medical personnel in the Federation to organize the Breast Screening Programme, Lea Parris-Cambridge noted.” We have had one to one consultations with private and government doctors to see how best we can assist women at risk of getting breast cancer.
The women will be recommended for mammograms through their physicians or through direct contact with Pink Lily. Women who go for mammograms through the Pink Lily coordinated BSP will complete an application form that has been evaluated by several medical personnel in the Federation,” Lea Parris-Cambridge, said. Pink Lily has in the past provided financial support as a result of public appeals, events and donations to women in the Federation who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and cervical cancer.
The targeted amount the charity set to raise in order to screen 200 women was EC$50,000 when the campaign was launched. This solely pays for the mammogram screening provided by Dr Hodge. This has not included the literature and educational material to provide to the 200 women or the administration costs to organize coordinate and promote the campaign.
“Pink Lily continues to appeal for support and donation for the programme as it needs to raise a further $20,000 for the next 5 months of phase 2 administration associated costs, printing costs for application forms, literature and educational material for the remaining 100 women, phone calls to book and confirm appointments, fare assistance, to hire a part time coordinator the programme to ensure it runs smoothly, professionally, and efficiently and to televise the campaign in order to reach as many homes and women as possible,” Lea Cambridge-Parris said.
She said the charity relies on volunteer help, donations, community fundraising, funding and sponsorship to provide its services free to its clients. “I thank all those who have donated to the charity to date and strongly encourage every business, establishment, organization, church, school and individual to continue financially supporting Pink Lily during campaigns and help reduce the cancer related deaths in Nevis and St. Kitts.”
“We never know when cancer will strike, it could be anyone at any time, regardless of whom you are, where you come from, how much money you have, or whether you are young or old,” the founder of Pink Lily said. “We extend a hand of help, comfort, strength and hope to those in need, those who don’t know where else to turn and we will offer support services in the strictest confidence to all,” she said.
To talk with someone in confidence, for more information about applying for the Breast screening programme, to make a donation, sponsor a campaign or to find out how you can organize a fundraising event for Pink Lily, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 6643306 and 6648360
Pink Lily was formed four years ago, on February 9th 2008.