The coronavirus has put a stop to life, as we know it due to the ongoing pandemic that has limited services, and changed the dynamics of Breast Cancer Awareness month, void of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, run events.
But, as the month comes to an end, patients are staying hopeful that follow-up-care, and treatment will be done in a safe and expeditious way, to save lives.
Guyanese-American, Lorna Welshman-Neblett, founder and president of Health & Education Relief Organization for Cancer Inc. (HEROC), who has led a team of volunteers on Cancer walks, and mission trips to Guyana for the last four years, continued the group’s advocacy, by sending funds to assemble 100 care packages to be donated to survivors in Guyana, through the Giving Hope Foundation.
Instead of it’s planned Cancer Mission 2020, cancelled due to COVID-19, HEROC donated, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, to ‘Thrivers and Survivors’. Items included sanitizer, antibacterial soap, sanitizer wipes, gloves, masks and hand bands.
Member in Georgetown, Gem Fraser, and volunteer Janice Parsad joined Ms. Norma Daniels, to deliver the care packages at the benevolent effort that Neblett applauded, as a job well done, and thanked, Norma, who provided photography services.
Neblett, who had outlined a three to five-year plan for HEROC that would have included the organization’s fifth mission this year, told Caribbean Life, cancer survivors do not require regular checkups.
“Survivors are the ones who conquer this illness and may be on meds unless there are indications of new sightings,” said the humanitarian, adding that cancer patients only require checkups probably every six months.
“On the other hand, cancer ‘Thrivers’ have a protocol that they must follow, and it includes regular check-ups and a series of various testing. Some of them are on chemotherapy via daily doses of tablets. Pet Scans, MRI’s and others are compulsory tests and in some cases, injections are required every month.”
“There are no mammograms while they are being treated. They do have clinics and there are specific entrances and exits for these patients to enter the oncology clinic.
“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only patients are allowed, so they are dropped off and picked up at the doorway. I was extremely happy to see the precautionary measures that are being taken at the Hospital Oncology Clinic so that patients are not compromised,” said Neblett.
She noted, to date, “we have not lost any cancer patients that we are aware of in the U.S. We continue to provide protocols to our cancer patients both here and in Guyana to secure their safety. However, we recently lost a patient to the dreaded cancer disease.
Dr. Gooding’s Clinic & Health Center Services, and the Giving Hope Foundation, Guyana that partners with HEROC, hosted several Facebook live programs during Cancer Awareness Month activities.
Live with Dr. Omesh, Dr. Gooding & Psychologist Mr. Wil Campbell, a Tree Wrapping Ceremony in Georgetown, and a Breast Cancer Survivor Virtual Summit, just to name a few, honored the month.
HEROC, that host annual fund raising events, donates some of the proceeds to Pap smear testing and prostate checks through The Giving Hope Foundation in Guyana, continues to source prosthetics for women who have had mastectomy.
“We welcome donations,” said Neblett, adding, that despite the organization’s non-profit status, financing has been the only barrier it encounters, and depends on fundraising to carry on its work.
HEROC, that is always in need of patient care supplies, such as medical equipment and prosthetics, and would willingly pick up these items and have them stored for shipment to Guyana for the annual October mission.
The group looks forward to 2021 to continue its humanitarian work for cancer awareness.
To learn more, or make a donation to this very important cause, send email: [email protected], or call (646) 522-8005.
Donations are tax-deductible and could be made via, www.heroc.org, or P.O. Box 21727 Brooklyn NY 11202.