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Push to raise funds for Falmouth Hospital mammography machine continues

Published:Thursday | November 3, 2022 | 12:15 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


ALTHOUGH BREAST Cancer Awareness Month has passed, the Trelawny-based Heart and Soul Cancer Foundation is still campaigning to provide the Falmouth Public General Hospital with a mammography machine to help in screening for the illness.

The foundation is seeking assistance to procure the $12-million equipment to better equip the Type B hospital in combating breast cancer, the leading cancer in Jamaican women.

Sonia Morris, founder and president of the Heart and Soul Cancer Foundation, told The Gleaner that the drive to secure the machine started when she discovered that there was no readily available screening process in the local public-health system.

“Folks were calling us to ask, ‘Do you do mammograms?’, and ‘How much do mammograms cost?’ We, on the other end, have been encouraging ladies to get checked as early detection is what saves lives, only to hear that they do not have the funds to do that,” said Morris, a two-time breast cancer survivor.

“Why was this? It is because the public system does not have a mammogram machine, and furthermore, they have to be travelling far to get these screenings done because there is no imaging facility here in Trelawny,” Morris added.

The foundation held a fundraiser on October 1 – at the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month – to raise the funds to purchase the machine, but Morris said that her organisation still needs additional financial help to achieve the goal.

“We have to campaign further because it is a huge project, and it is costly - around US$80,000 or J$12 million,” she said.

The Heart and Soul Cancer Foundation was launched in 2018 as a non-profit organisation with the goal of assisting cancer patients in offsetting the costs for their treatment.

The foundation donated three chemotherapy infusion chairs, valued at J$500,000, to the St James-based Cornwall Regional Hospital in April this year, bringing the number at the facility to 12.

“We have been preaching that we are on a mission to save lives and that women should get early detection because everyone who deals with cancer knows that early detection saves lives,” said Errol Richards, Morris’ husband and the vice-president and co-founder of the foundation.

Persons interested in assisting with the purchase of the mammography machine for the Falmouth Public General Hospital can contact the Heart and Soul Cancer Foundation at 876-587-6920.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In a story published in the November 1, 2022, edition of The Gleaner , it was erroneously stated that the foundation had already donated the mammography machine to the Falmouth Hospital. We regret that error.