Reflections on Panama
Guest post by Catherine Oliveros, Regional Director of International, Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Looking back at the exciting events of last week, I can’t help but feel exhilarated and exhausted all at the same time. What a week! We visited three amazing non-government organizations (NGOs) and learned firsthand how they are making a difference for women in Panama. And the big news of the week was that we were able to provide all three organizations with additional funds, thanks to the Caterpillar Foundation, to help them expand their work and increase their impact.
Casita de Mausi, who you read about in my first post, offers temporary housing to low-income women who must travel hours and long distances for screening, follow-up care or treatment at the Cancer Center in Panama City. Thanks to the support from Komen, Casita is opening up 5 beds a month for these women who otherwise would not get the proper follow-up care. The home has been working with cancer patients for 15 years and has undergone several expansion projects to accommodate the growing need. Now, it has capacity for up to 30 patients at one time. Additionally, Casita will now be able to provide Breast Self-Awareness sessions monthly for residents to teach all residents on the importance of screening and specifically, the important of breast self awareness.
Asociacion Nacional Contra el Cancer or ANCEC has clinics throughout Panama and provides breast and cervical cancer screenings, as well as community education programs. With CAT funds, ANCEC will now be able to reach more people with messages about the importance of early detection by implementing a new awareness campaign during family friendly sporting events. Additionally, they will be providing workshops targeting health care providers – physicians, nurses and students – on such topics as the latest breast cancer research, guidelines and best practices in clinical care, as well as new technology in breast cancer and psycho-oncology.
Our third grant went to FundaAyuda, a leader in breast cancer awareness, to help them expand their work and by launching an intense year-long media campaign, that incorporates traditional as well as social media. As the founder of FundaAyuda says, women don’t just get cancer in October. What an amazing group!
I love my work, because I get to learn everyday from amazing organizations and individuals on a global scale. I am currently back in Dallas, but not for long. Later this month we will be announcing another set of Caterpillar grantees in Monterrey, Mexico. I get to once again spend time with passionate people who are making a difference in their communities. And as partners, they are helping us expand our global reach. We will be sure to send you updates from Mexico, as I am sure we will have plenty of stories to share from there as well!
About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.