OCHO RIOS, Jamaica (October 27, 2017): Over fifty women from the St. Ann and St. Mary communities received free mammograms courtesy of the Sandals Foundation to mark World Mammogram Day last Friday (October 20). In addition, the Foundation also assisted in providing free pap smears for a number of women from the nearby communities as part of its partnership with the Jamaica Cancer Society.
This was the second straight year that the Sandals Foundation was making such a donation to women in the region as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The initiative falls under the Foundation’s WHOA (Women Helping Others Achieve) program which is a partnership with the Bob Marley Foundation and has reached over 1600 women across the Caribbean with support through health initiatives as well as education and skills training for pregnant teenage girls and capacity building for women in agriculture.
Marilyn Williams, Manager of the Jamaica Cancer Society Ocho Rios branch, praised the Sandals Foundation for being able to assist the ladies in what she described as a very important venture. “We were wondering where we would get help to finance the mammograms for so many needy women and the Foundation gladly stepped in. For this we are eternally grateful,” the branch manager noted.
“Early detection is very important and many persons are not able to acquire mammograms, so making it available free of cost to them is very important at this time. We hope this partnership will continue for many years to come,” Ms. Williams observed.
“Breast cancer awareness is something we take very seriously and so we were happy to make the over $200,000 contribution to a very worthy cause,” said Sandals Regional Public Relations Manager Lyndsay Isaacs. She explained that by facilitating both annual paps smears and mammograms, the donation will not only encourage the importance of early detection, but also provide a platform to educate and encourage healthy lifestyle habits.
“From dialogue with the Cancer Society we realized that there were a lot of women in our community who were not able to have mammograms because they genuinely could not afford it and being good corporate citizens we were happy to step forward for the second year in a row,” Mrs. Isaacs added.
Sandra Roberts, a member of the community who benefitted from the sponsorship, was effusive in her praise for the Foundation. “I really wanted to get checked out but just couldn’t afford the cost at this time,” Ms. Roberts noted. “When I heard that the Sandals Foundation was sponsoring women in the community I was overjoyed and happily carried out my tests. Now I am, so glad I did.”
Ms. Roberts said that too many of her peers were still afraid of doing their mammograms and hoped that she would be an example to them to start coming out and getting annual checks to reduce the fatalities due to breast cancer.