Cancer survivors get support at 'Keeping Abreast'
Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Writer
It was a day to celebrate 'life' with the Jamaica Cancer Society and the Jamaica Reach to Recovery, at their annual breast cancer awareness fundraiser luncheon - 'Keeping Abreast' - last Thursday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston.
Supporters came out in droves, some fashioned in pink and white, to support the cancer fighters and survivors. From the ceilings and walls to the tables in the Pegasus ballroom were clad in pink and white, honouring these women.
Entertainment was taken to another level by Michael Pinnock on steel pan. His rendition of some known hits and a fashion show courtesy of Heather Laine and Carlton Brown, with special appearance by Kaci Fennel, Miss Universe Jamaica, and cancer survivors who strutted proud and brave, topped off the afternoon.
There is a silver lining at the end of breast cancer. Among specially invited guests was president of Reach to Recovery International, Cathy Brice-Hirsch - a cancer survivor who was also the guest speaker. Hirsch's experience has equipped her to help other cancer victims in the fight against the disease. Hirsch said that while dedicating her service to cancer victims, she discovered that her passion was no longer in law, but in her voluntary service. Included in her presentation was a multimedia presentation of testimonials from breast cancer survivors, who shared their experience in finding the positive after breast cancer. One of the women explained that she was shocked when the doctor told her she was pregnant with a baby girl (cancer treatments sometimes render the patients sterile). She said that it was a blessing "something good came out of breast cancer," she concluded.
A good cause
The chairperson of the Jamaica Reach to Recovery, Caroline Graham, said that the support over the years has been good, although there is always room for improvement. "The support is not much different from last years'. There are still some people who are unable to support the cause, but we encourage those who can to come on board - people always need help, and whatever we need and do is to help people. Over time, we will get more ways to get more funds to help, especially to help more of the less fortunate ones - medications are very expensive," she concluded.
All women are at risk for breast cancer and the association encouraged all women to do their self-examinations, which can lead to early detection.