The Sandals Foundation has doubled its funding to the Jamaica Cancer Society, making it possible for 100 women in rural communities to get their mammogram screenings.
Since 2017 and as part of its Women Helping Others Achieve (WHOA) initiative, the Sandals Foundation has worked very closely with the Jamaica Cancer Society to fund screenings for fifty women annually. Additionally, the Sandals Foundation has worked with the Women’s Health Network to support diagnostic and treatment equipment for rural clinics across Jamaica.
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation says the move is part of efforts to increase the number of women who have access to the life-saving services.
“Last October, we made a commitment to double the number of women who are able to get their tests done. Early detection saves lives, and it was important for us to do what we can to increase the number of screenings which can be critical to an early diagnosis.” Clarke says.
The fight against breast cancer requires education, access to information and healthcare services.
These tests, Clarke said, “Will empower women to make informed decisions about their healthcare, their families, their future and their lives.”
Marilyn Williams, Manager of the St. Ann and St. Mary Branch of the Jamaica Cancer Society says the beneficiaries will include persons who are referred by doctors and independent women who visit the Society needing help.
“It’s very challenging for a lot of the women who visit us because many of them have no money. Some do not have a job and they’ll spend their last dollar taking a taxi to come to us in hopes that we can do the necessary tests to find out what that lump is they are feeling in their breasts. This funding will rescue many.”
For 45 year old Cancer Survivor, Trice Smith, her ability to get tested through the Jamaica Cancer society, helps her stay informed and on track her recovery.
“Getting tested is one of the best things you can do. As women, nobody knows our bodies like we do, so I recommend for every woman to trust their instincts and seek answers. Do not go with a spirit of fear because you will not be alone. There are survivor’s groups to support and help you get through [the journey],” Smith said.
Improvements in healthcare and lifestyle initiatives are a major part of the Foundation’s work. Since 2009, over 300,000 people across the Caribbean have gained access to quality healthcare services through targeted programs, investments in health equipment, and funding professional trainings.
The Foundation’s work in cancer care includes prostate and cervical cancer awareness and screenings as well as pediatric support through partnership with the Sick Kids Caribbean Initiative.