Cancer de Mama Clinic 2018 Annual Update and Report
Cancer de Mama
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May 25, 2018

At this year's Clinic, we were able to provide our services to almost 440 women, ranging in age from fifteen years to mid-eighties. (Cancer de Mama)

Once again, for the third year in a row, the La Penita Senior Centre was the site of another very successful Clinic – despite the heavy winds and rain that blew through the area, knocking down many of our frames and curtains just hours before Clinic opening! Everything was restored in time, but it was sorely evident, that new frames will be needed for next year! Providing breast prosthetics to Mexican women is what the Cancer de Mama Clinic is all about. Underneath the hard work we do, is our deep desire to show kindness, hope and love to each woman who comes to us. Little things can mean a lot.

This year at our Registration Table, every woman had a small stone pressed gently into her hand. Each stone had been collected and painted by one of our ‘behind-the-scenes’ volunteers. Symbolizing ‘new happiness’, on the front of each stone was the image of a ladybug, with a Spanish word of hope printed on the back. Handing out these small tokens of love was such a blessing for the volunteers in the registration process!

Similar in size to our 2017 Clinic, we were able to provide our services to almost 440 women, ranging in age from fifteen years to mid-eighties. One of the most exciting things we could see this year, was something that had obviously been happening in the months leading up to our Clinic. Several small groups of women, sporting happy smiles and much giggling, were proudly wearing matching bright pink T-Shirts, revealing themselves as breast cancer survivors. This identification, wearing matching T-Shirts in a unified and public way, showed us that women have begun to meet and support each other in their local communities, often far away from La Penita. This is a sign that some of the women are no longer isolated in their own homes, overcome with shame after having had a mastectomy.

The women had formed these groups entirely by themselves, completely separate from the work of the Cancer de Mama Clinic, and we’re so proud of them! Nevertheless, the volunteers of CdeMC can also take pride in knowing that in very many ways, for many years now, we’ve demonstrated to these women, that there is no shame in having a mastectomy!

Our lymphedema team, also in its third year, continues to see an increasing number of women showing moderate to severe signs of this very serious and painful post-mastectomy complication. Caroline Maze, the team leader, estimates that about 45%of the women who attend the Clinic are in need of lymphedema sleeves and bandages. (This in contrast to about 10-15% of Canadian women who develop this complication).

We’re very happy to be able to help these women, but the reality is that the supplies they require has nearly tripled our expenses. Sleeves and bandages deteriorate quickly in the Mexican climate and need to be replaced yearly. Lymphedema support has now become a major focus of our effort.

We were fortunate this year to receive financial assistance from two very successful fundraising activities in La Penita and Guayabitos. We are exceedingly grateful for the support of the Penita Players, following yet another hilarious production, as well as for funds from the Cancer Walk, raised from their very well attended afternoon of exercise and celebration! Unfortunately, we were disappointed to learn that we are no longer considered an annual recipient of financial support from the Fashion Show.

There are so many worthy charitable activities in our area, and we understand that the Fashion Show Executive plans to decide annually where they will distribute any extra funds they are able to raise, beyond the needs of the educational support they provide to many young women in the community.

Our CdeMC website has now been updated. There are some new features and photos, so please take some time to have a look and to stay updated. One of the features we’re expanding, is the column ‘Real Women, Real Stories”. If you’d like to write something about your experience as a volunteer, or as a donor to CdeMC, we’d be so happy to hear from you. Just write us an email if you have any questions, or send along your completed piece and we’ll get it onto the website for other readers to enjoy!

Another hugely successful dimension of this year’s Clinic, was our Tiangus (Market) held in the street, just outside our front doors. It was so busy there, that at times it felt like a Black Friday Sale! Next year, there may even be a pre-sale held, at which local Mexican can do some great shopping before the Clinic actually gets started. Donations of gently used clothing (adult and children’s), shawls (both warm and light weight), hats, sandals and jewelry are all very welcome!

One of our greatest pieces of good news this year, is that Cheryl Sholan has accepted the position of Chair of the CdeMC Executive. Cheryl has been a volunteer with CdeMC for many years, and comes to the position with lots of professional and volunteer management experience. We’re thrilled to have her on board and we all offer her our very warmest welcome!

Saving our BIG NEWS FOR THE LAST! Mark your calendars now!

As you may appreciate, our added lymphedema expenses have put us in a rather challenging financial position, so we’ve decided to hold our own January fundraiser! See details on the home page about the upcoming Oktober-Fiesta happening in January 2019.

As everyone knows, many hands make light work. If you’d like to help out at this event – anything from selling tickets to serving up beer, we’d be happy to hear from you! Just send us an email, and we’ll be back in touch sometime this Fall.

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