Special Envoy to Expand and Upgrade Cancer Center in Dangriga Print E-mail
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Thursday, 12 July 2012 00:00

Mrs. Kim Barrow presented cheque to Laura LongsworthIn March, the Lifeline Foundation held its 7th annual Black and White Gala. The gala is the foundation’s signature fundraising initiative. Its proceeds are usually used for the construction or rehabilitation of school buildings and other important education projects. Schools in Toledo and Cayo benefitted from the proceeds of the last two galas entitled “Give Your Heart to Toledo” and “Give Your Heart to Cayo”. This year’s gala was held to support “Children with Cancer”.

The Lifeline Foundation raised $142,357.98 at the gala and turned over the proceeds to the Belize Cancer Society and the Belize Cancer Center in Dangriga on Wednesday, July 4th, 2012. President Laura Longsworth received a cheque for $71,178.99 on behalf of the Belize Cancer Society and Dr. Ellsworth Grant received the same amount for the Belize Cancer Center. According to Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, Founder and Director of the Lifeline Foundation, the money is to be used by the two institutions to develop a comprehensive support program for children living with cancer and their family.

Mrs. Barrow, Mrs. Longsworth and Dr. Grant all spoke about the challenges faced by the families of children with cancer. Mrs. Barrow said she can only imagine how difficult it is for a parent to watch their child experience severe suffering and not being able to ease the pain. Longsworth spoke about the fear that a family experiences following a cancer diagnosis. She said that the Belize Cancer Society has come a long way in providing information and support to families of cancer victims but there is much more that needs to be done. Dr. Grant spoke about the impact that cancer in a child has on a family. The high cost of cancer treatment will force families to make sacrifices, often at the expense of other siblings. One of the parents will have to dedicate their time to providing care and accompanying the child for treatment. Dr. Grant recalls cases that cancer used up so much of the families’ resources that their children became malnourished. His center has tried to address this situation by providing support to such families in terms of covering transportation and other fees.

The funds will be used by the Belize Cancer Society and Belize Cancer Center for the training of medical practitioners, reviewing and improving the oncology curriculum for nurses, developing public awareness and educational materials, developing and implementing a comprehensive care plan for each child and monitoring and evaluation of cancer in Belize - as there is no data for the prevalence of cancer in Belize. Dr. Grant said that when he opened the cancer center he thought that he would see four or five patients for month. He did not know the disease was so prevalent that the center is currently providing chemotherapy treatment for forty patients. Mrs. Barrow announced plans for the expansion and upgrade of the center at the donation ceremony on Wednesday. She is working along with partners to draft a proposal to secure funds for the structure.