The Jamaica Cancer Society’s Tree of Hope, within an hour of its launch at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Chairman’s Breakfast Meeting on 29 May 2012 by Mr. Joseph Matalon, President of the PSOJ, bore fruit of approximately J$1.35 million with a promise of more pledges to come in! The Tree of Hope is the vehicle through which the Society hopes to raise J$10 million to go towards funding the replacement of the mobile mammography unit.
The Tree of Hope is expected to attract two streams of funding: corporate donations and individual donations. The former will be pursued through contacts with various companies and the latter through the sale of cards in the memory of family members who have lost the battle with the disease, or in celebration of family members who are cancer survivors. The Tree of Hope will be moved to various locations across the island where the cards will be sold and donations solicited. Purchasers may place their cards on the branches of the Tree of Hope or send directly to their respective loved ones.
Mr. Matalon shared that the Jamaica Cancer Society, since its establishment in 1955, has built a reputation as the primary centre dedicated to cancer prevention and control in the country through its national education and public awareness programmes, its fixed and mobile screening services, and counselling and support for cancer patients and their families. Mr. Matalon further shared that his own family has been touched by the disease with his wife being a breast cancer survivor. Donated to the Jamaica Cancer Society in 2001 by the Scotiabank Foundation, the Mobile Unit travels the length and breadth of the island to those under-served communities that do not have access to health facilities, to conduct screening for breast cancer. Over the ten year period that the unit was operational, over 15,000 women were screened, opening the opportunity for early detection and prevention of this dreaded disease.
Yulit Gordon, Executive Director of the Jamaica Cancer Society, noted that breast cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer mortality among Jamaican women. The crude mortality rate stands at 11.76 per 100,000 Jamaican women who are at risk – this being the 40 to 70 age group. Mrs Gordon attributes this, in large part, to under-screening and disproportionate rates of late-stage disease at diagnosis. A significant number of these women are from under-served communities, which do not have access to screening facilities, and are further challenged by economic constraints.
In addition to conducting screening for breast cancer, the Cancer Society team on the unit will teach the women how to do their own self-examination of their breasts, and share with them on the importance of early detection and prevention of the disease. “Our vision is to have healthy families which extend into healthy communities, and a healthy and more productive Jamaica,” Gordon shares. “We will be vigorously pursuing our fundraising programme through the Tree of Hope with the aim of being able to replace the Unit by the end of 2012. Over the next three years, our target is to screen 25,000 to 30,000 women island-wide for breast cancer.”
The Jamaica Cancer Society is located at 16 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 5, and is open Mondays through Fridays, 8:30am to 4pm.
Posted By :Jamaica Cancer Society
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