ST ANN, Jamaica – One hundred and forty women across the island are set to receive free mammograms this year as the Sandals Foundation continues its partnership with the Jamaica Cancer Society and MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation to provide the lifesaving service to women in rural communities this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The move is further bolstered with the support of Sandals Resorts’ retail shops and spas across the Caribbean, that will see to the proceeds of sales on marked items being donated to support the ongoing public education, screening and support of women in the Caribbean.
“This year, we are proud to announce the added support of both retail shops and spas at our resorts who have come on board to spread more awareness and make it possible for more women, including our team members, to take charge of their health through screenings,” said Sandals Foundation Executive Director Heidi Clarke. “We are grateful to be able to assist more women gain access to the services that can help to save lives.”
Earlier this month, the philanthropic organisation partnered with MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation alongside Hospiten Montego Bay to cover the costs of diagnostic mammogram screenings of 40 women in Westmoreland including 10 team members from Sandals South Coast, Beaches and Sandals Negril resorts. The tests formed part of a wider campaign to sensitise women on issues relating to the disease and included medical presentations, and psychological support.
Dorothy Satchwell, breast cancer survivor, chairperson and events coordinator of MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation, says education and awareness campaigns are key elements to combatting the disease.
“As a survivor of breast cancer, I always say my double mastectomy has left me breastless, not breathless. Doing nothing is what leaves you breathless. This educational campaign is significant because there are so many people who have misinformation as it relates to screening. It’s important to understand why you are doing the screening and how to help yourself and your families. Last year, the Sandals Foundation sponsored 30 mammograms. This year, that number has increased to 40. It has made a lot of difference,” she said.
Daidrey DaSilva, branch manager for the Jamaica Cancer Society St Ann and St Mary chapter, added, “Early detection saves lives. The Sandals Foundations has always been an integral part of the screening that we offer to the ladies of the St Ann and St Mary community. We are very appreciative of the partnership which will this year serve 100 women.”
Both organisations will continue their awareness campaigns into the month of November, with Hospiten Montego Bay facilitating mammogram screening until the end of November, and the Jamaica Cancer Society staging its 5th ‘Paint Ochi Pink” event on November 19, 2023.
The annual health-care support forms part of the Sandals Foundation’s Women Helping Others Achieve (WHOA) Programme which provides mentorship, education, training and other tools needed to help marginalised women find inspiration and strength to transform their lives.