Mammography boost from Jamaican in Canada

Sunday, September 13, 2015

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THE Jamaica Cancer Society received a cheque last week to boost its mammography screening service.


The CD$1,610 donation was from a Jamaican residing in Canada.


Senator AJ Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, presented the cheque to Yulit Gordon, executive director of the society, on behalf of Letna Allen Rowe, who collected the money through her Ontario-based fundraising foundation, the Ms. Letna/Rouge Valley Health System Foundation (RVHSF) Healing Hope.


Rowe, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and is undergoing treatment at the Scarborough Centenary Hospital, is an Edna Manley College graduate with a storied career in Jamaican theatre, which includes tours with comedy king Oliver Samuels. She recalls her first encounter with the society in 2013, when she returned to Jamaica to attend a funeral.


"While I was in Jamaica I saw several articles about the Jamaica Cancer Society and what they were doing. On my way to the airport I heard on the radio that the Jamaica Cancer Society was hosting a free mammogram day, so I made a U-turn and visited them. As someone battling and surviving breast cancer, I sympathised with the many Jamaicans lined up to be screened for cancer. I introduced myself to Mrs Gordon and told her why I stopped by her office."


Ms Letna, as she is affectionately known, pledged CD$1000 on the spot.


"Mrs Gordon was not sure at first if this was a scam or a joke," she said.


She returned to Jamaica in 2014 for the Relay for Life fundraising event. She would go on to donate CD$1,300 after her first fundraising activity for the society, which was matched dollar for dollar by Jamaica National to raise the total to CD$2,600.


She has pledged to continue with other activities.


"I also raise funds for the Scarborough Centenary Hospital, where I have been receiving treatment since my diagnosis in 2011," she said.


With Breast Cancer Awareness Month just a few weeks away, Gordon expressed her gratitude for the donation, and the work of her foundation in providing disadvantaged women with the means to access mammography screening.


The 60-year-old society conducts screening for breast, cervical and prostate cancers through its fixed site clinics, as well as its mobile screening programmes.


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