Faces of Cancer St. Lucia

Faces of Cancer St. Lucia is a non- governmental Organization started by a breast cancer survivor in 2009, who saw the need for a cancer support group, to assist patients going through this difficult journey, along with their family and friends. Faces of Cancer St. Lucia cater to all types of cancer patients, we welcome volunteers, survivors, caregivers and patients. Cancer is no longer a death sentence and so we seek to educate survivors by engaging trained professionals in giving lectures to our group.

In 2011 Faces of Cancer St. Lucia, created a second group within the banana belt, Faces of Cancer Mabouya Valley now serves the Dennery area and its environs. Our Goal is to reach areas of high cancer concentrations and offer our services.

Faces of cancer St. Lucia has a membership of 215 persons of which 184 are survivors and volunteers attached to the Castries group and the remaining 31 are from the Mabouya valley group consisting mainly of volunteers. The public is welcome to join any of the groups, we do not discriminate against age, race, religious or political belief. All services offered to our group survivors are free of charge including social events. For Faces of cancer, a survivor is anyone diagnosed with cancer, recognizing that before a diagnosis a patient has been surviving cancer unknowingly.

When the group started in 2009 our objective was to cater to group members in areas of education and survivorship and the overall wellness of survivors, as well as assisting with household chores which would be a challenge whilst going through treatment.

Having been told by the St. Lucia Cancer society, that their mandate was to educate St. Lucians about cancer, and realizing the majority of survivors were clueless about cancer protocol, alternatives survivorship and prevention, many survivors knew nothing about life long conditions that could affect them after treatment such as lymphedema, the effects of cancer on their sex lives, remaining cancer free after treatment and many other important topics that could affect life after cancer, We then decided to increased our objectives to include, educating the St. Lucian public on different types of cancers, their symptoms, being predisposed and what to expect after cancer.

To date we have produced nineteen brochures on different type of cancers that we have seen in St. Lucia. We also produce a monthly newsletter CANCER TALK, which raises awareness for different cancers and is circulated to a number of business houses and schools. Occasionally we conduct awareness drives at the William Peter Boulevard and Gablewoods Mall in Vieux Fort.

As part as educating the public we aim to participate at every Health fair we are invited to around St. Lucia, During the month of October we take our awareness to as many schools and communities that we can reach with our limited resources.

As part of our objective every year we concentrate on our very own Annual Health Fair, which are held for World Cancer Day February 4th and Breast cancer Awareness Month in October. In February we offer Free Prostate screening, free pap smears and free Clinical breast exams. In October we provide Free Clinical Breast exams, free mammograms and free breast Ultrasounds to men and women that are
underemployed and unemployed.

At group meetings we invite professional to address our gathering in areas of body , mind and spirit in order to compliment the wellness aspect of survivorship. Faces of cancer provide survivors with research on their cancer type in order to better engage in dialogue with their doctor and to better understand what is expected during their journey. We provide a wide variety of patient information on different
kinds of cancers. At meetings we also share our experiences and talk about things that affect us as cancer survivors.

Every year Faces of Cancer St. Lucia embarks on a series of fund raisers in order to lend some financial support to members as well as the public, and to maintain an office since we do not receive a subvention from our government. To date we have given assistance financially in the following areas

  1. Screenings including breast, pap smears, prostate
  2. Medication
  3. Doctor’s fees
  4. CT scans, PET CT, Ultrasounds, X- Rays
  5. Blood work
  6. Airfares, insurances and accommodation to access treatment not offered in St. Lucia
  7. Cost of testing in Martinique
  8. Partial cost of chemotherapy
  9. Ancillary medical cost such as Ambulance, oxygen and night nurse services and physical therapy
  10. Groceries

Faces of Cancer St. Lucia has a trained counselor and also a psychologist as part of our team offering the
following services to group members.

  1. Grief counseling to group members and their family.
  2. Emotional support to newly diagnosed patients and their family.
  3. We offer a number of social events for the group members bringing together members and their

Faces of Cancer have a Prayer Warrior Group which visits cancer patients at Victoria Hospital and ailing
group members at homes.

From the American Cancer Society we have received informative leaflets on post operative procedures
for breast cancer patients which we distribute to members before surgery ensuring that they
understand the contents. The following is a list of areas we offer support for members during
chemotherapy. We also have a collection of books on nutrition before, during and after treatment,
which group members can access.

  1. House hold chores
  2. Grooming
  3. Cooking
  4. Assistance with children
  5. Accompanying to doctors visit
  6. Sitting in during chemotherapy

With The increase in membership, as well as the rise in cancer statistics, in St. Lucia, Faces of Cancer St.
Lucia is now faced with some pressing needs.

  1. A meeting venue where we can hold presentations and meetings. We are trying to build a temporary structure on the grounds of our office. We have received and Estimate of twenty eight thousand dollars
  2. Transportation. in order to reach people out of the Castries basin. We currently use public transportation which is becoming costly and time consuming. We are in Need of a bus so we can go into the different communities to raise awareness with all our supplies
  3. Covenants, Funding/stipend in order sustain a staff, Fundraising is very challenging in St. Lucia and because of economic hardship people are not as generous with donations making it extremely difficult to exist as we do. Currently all administrative work is done by the executive of Faces of Cancer free of charge. We all volunteer our services, with the rise in awareness and the amount of people we need to assist we need a fully functioning office with a staff.
  4. Hospital beds wheel cheers, shower benches, raised toilet seats, transfer handles, Standers and transfer benches to lend out to cancer patients in need of these aids to make their last days more comfortable

February 04 World Cancer Day health Fair offering Free Screening for Breast, prostate and Cervical

April 17th Tea Party and Easter Egg Hunt with Children affected by cancer

October – Breast Cancer Awareness month

  1. Health community of Soufriere and Community awareness talk
  2. Health Fair Castries and Community awareness talk
  3. Health Fair Gros Islet and Community awareness talk
  4. Health fair Mon Repos and Community awareness talk
  5. School Essay competition
  6. Breast cancer talk in secondary schools.
  7. Breast Cancer Gala Dinner and Dance
  8. Bingo and games Night
  9. Night Gown and Pamper drive for hospitalized Cancer Patients

December – Faces of Cancer St. Lucia bringing smiles and good cheer

  1. Candle light vigil.
  2. Children’s party – kids affected by childhood cancers
  3. Food Baskets to patients at the Victoria Hospital Cancer Clinic and light refreshments
  4. Survivors Christmas Party