Sandals Foundation teams up with Hospiten to continue fight against breast cancer
MONTEGO BAY, St James — In a concerted effort to continue the fight against breast cancer beyond the designated awareness month of October, Sandals Foundation has joined forces with Hospiten Montego Bay to provide complimentary mammograms to women throughout the region.
This collaboration forms part of Sandals Foundation’s annual breast cancer campaign, emphasising the importance of early detection and treatment.
The community response to the initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, with many women expressing gratitude for the opportunity to prioritise their health without the financial strain.
Breast cancer remains one of the most prevalent forms of cancer among women globally, and routine mammograms play a crucial role in identifying potential abnormalities before symptoms manifest. Despite the proven effectiveness of mammography, financial constraints often hinder women from scheduling these screenings regularly.
Thirty women joined the Sandals Montego Bay public relations team at Hospiten over three consecutive days, to receive the possibly life-saving procedure. Testimonials from participants such as Ann-Marie Blake-Reid and Roslyn Smith highlighted their appreciation for the initiative.
“Today I am feeling very happy, very thankful to the Sandals Foundation for allowing us to do our mammograms at Hospiten. This initiative means so much to me because I have wanted to do it since last year but, to be honest, I couldn’t afford it so when I saw this initiative I was so excited,” noted enthused testee Ann-Marie Blake-Reid from the Whitehouse community.
Blake-Reid continued, “Not only did we receive complimentary mammograms but also catering from the resort — and they even went as far as providing transportation for myself and all the ladies to and from Hospiten. To say we were well taken care of would be a gross understatement. This is something I hope women like me can benefit from for many years to come.”
Experienced testee Roslyn Smith from the Rose Mount community sang a similar tune, also speaking highly of her experience by sharing, ” The mammograms I’ve done in the past pale in experience to this one. More often than not it is a vulnerable and sometimes intimidating moment for a woman but, oddly, I can say this experience has been quite fun.
“A mammogram can run you up in the thousands, depending on where you get it done, so I am grateful to the Sandals Foundation for offsetting that cost while providing such a relaxing and accommodating experience with the staff at Hospiten. It has been great, to say the least,” said Smith.
Health-care providers at Hospiten involved in the programme have also stressed the importance of education and awareness about breast health. Alongside offering free mammograms, informational sessions and resources are being provided to help women better understand the importance of regular screenings, risk factors, and healthy lifestyle choices that can contribute to overall breast health.
Hospiten Radiography Supervisor Racquel Dickenson-McDonald spoke candidly to the women before their screening and commended them. “Taking charge of your health is something you all should be proud of. Early detection can make a world of difference when it comes to breast cancer and the treatment of it, if necessary,” she noted.
McDonald also shared that there are many misconceptions surrounding mammography, many of which paint the procedure as something that is nothing like the reality. “I even joked with one of the ladies here today who said she was so nervous but found it relaxing,” she said. “I love initiatives like these with the Sandals Foundation because not only does it allow for women to know their status but it also gives us, as health-care professionals, an opportunity to reach out to our community members and debunk a lot of myths in the process — and hopefully the women here today can take that back with them.”
As the fight against breast cancer continues Sandals Foundation has pledged its support for more initiatives like this in the future.
Executive director of Sandals Foundation Heidi Clarke spoke of the future of the early detection campaign by sharing, “As long as there are women needing help receiving mammograms, the Sandals Foundation will do its part to increase access. This is a fundamental part of our mandate to [enhance] community development — supporting the health and well-being of residents all year long.”