August 29, 2014
Scorch cancer support group launches in SVG

Saturday, August 23, 2014, marked the official launch of the SCORCH cancer support group in SVG. The elegant cocktail ceremony was held at the Prime Minister’s residence, under the auspices of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who pledged his total support to the group and is now an honorary member.{{more}}

Noting the numbers of persons in SVG affected by this terminal illness, and with the understanding that life is different after a cancer diagnosis, it became prudent that a support group be re-established. The group was established and coordinated by Dr Jozelle Miller, health psychologist, Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

SCORCH, which is an acronym used to describe the experience of the members of the group, says “I am SURVIVING STRONG, COURAGEOUS, OPTIMISTIC, RESLIENT, CONFIDENT and HOPEFUL in spite of….”.

The group caters for patients as well as family members; it provides a safe place where those affected by cancer can receive support; reduce isolation; receive empathy; develop friendships, learn how other persons are coping with their diagnosis; share thoughts and information about the different cancers; and provide an overall safe environment to listen to each other in a non-judgmental and caring way.

The first meeting of the group was held on January 18, 2014 at the outpatient department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Since then the group has had eight sessions, meeting on the third Tuesday of each month. At the sessions, the group covered many topics, inclusive of hair loss and chemotherapy, with a demonstration of how to do beautiful head wraps during the period of hair loss and looked at nutrition and cancer treatment; alternative medicines to compliment chemotherapy and faith amidst the struggles.

“We view ourselves as a family which shares in the joys and sorrows of each member.”

The launch was graced by many well-wishers from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, as well as visiting oncologist Dr Owen Gabriel from St Lucia, who has been conducting clinics within SVG for the past 16 months. In his remarks, he noted that though the group is in its fledging stage, it has all the drive and fervour and the makings of several world renowned successful entities that battle this dreadful disease. He further encouraged a team approach to face the many challenges associated with cancer. He quoted Terry Fox, who said “I wish people would realize that anything is possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.”

Scorch cancer support group would like to take this opportunity to invite interested persons to become members. The next meeting will be held at the outpatient department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on September 16, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

For the upcoming year, a new steering committee would direct the affairs of the group. The committee members are: Olive Allen – president, Margarita Tash – vice-president, Rosalind Thomas – secretary, Everest Charles – treasurer, Alecia Lewis – assistant treasurer, Elmin Castello – PRO and committee members: Mandeville and Monique Tash. The technical support Team: Jozelle Miller – health psychologist, Dr Mellisa Miguel – medical officer, Dr Dehlia Franklyn – medical intern and Nadia Browne – Dietitian.