La Penita’s Cancer de Mama Shares an Uplifting 2017 Clinic Update
Emily Gallant - Cancer de Mama
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May 26, 2017

For the second time in a row, the Cancer de Mama Clinic was very successfully hosted in the Senior’s Centre in ‘downtown’ La Penita. Unfortunately, due to last-minute government budget cutbacks, two busloads of women were not able to make it to the 2017 Clinic. Our hearts were really saddened by this development, knowing how much the women would have looking forward to their trip! As disappointed as we were, the bright side of this situation, meant that with only about 400 ladies to serve, volunteers were able to go at a slower pace and provide a bit more time with each individual lady. We’re really hoping to have enough money available at future clinics to ensure that such a thing doesn’t happen again!

Also for the second year in a row, tucked away in a very well organized little room, we had a very busy Lymphedema Clinic, managed by Caroline Maze, one of our very skilled volunteers. With Caroline and her team onsite, ready to fit and supply the necessary sleeves and gloves, all of our ladies were evaluated individually by their prosthetic Fitter and referred on to Caroline if there was any sign of lymphedema. About 30% of our ladies showed varying degrees of lymphedema, as compared to the estimated 10% rate seen in Canadian women who’ve had mastectomies. Often, relief comes quickly once a woman is wearing a properly fitted sleeve, and our ladies are always so incredibly thankful for this help. Lots of happy tears!

Providing these supplies is quite expensive, so we are absolutely counting on financial support to continue running this program. Because of the humid weather in Mexican summers, lymphedema garments lose their elasticity easily and need to be replaced every year. We are always looking for ways to get the supplies at the lowest possible cost and as with breast prosthetics, donations of gently used supplies are acceptable, as long as they were not previously made to custom fit someone else.

Another very successful element of this year’s Clinic, was the Tienda, formerly known as the Free Store. Heather Erickson, along with several Mexican volunteers, was busy all weekend long, selling gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry etc, etc. to our visiting ladies, who certainly seemed to enjoyed the chance to shop at great prices, while helping to raise funds for the Clinic. Lots more donations for the Tienda will be needed for the 2018 Clinic, so if you have any extra space at all in your luggage, try to fit in some things from your closet at home which you think might sell well!

As a thank you to all our volunteers, this year for the first time, many of us gathered together for lunch at the Piña Colada Restaurant a few days after the Clinic, where “a good time was had by all!” Hopefully, we’ll do it again in 2018!

Changes continue to take place on the CdeMC Executive as various volunteers face changes in their personal lives. Our previous Clinic Supervisor, Susan Sloan, has decided to travel with her husband Ken, to other exciting spots in the world, so won’t be returning to La Penita. She will be sadly missed. Please see our note to Susan elsewhere in the News column.

Thanks again to all who volunteer for the Cancer de Mama Clinics, for those who donate to this worthy cause and to all who follow our activities. Watch for an update on our needs for Clinic 2018 in late August.

Image: Laboratorio de Patología Clínica de Vallarta

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