Regional

Over $1m raised for mammograms for Portland women

Monday, October 14, 2019

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The Sir Henry Morgan Angling Association (SHMAA) says it has raised just over $1 million to pay for mammograms for Portland women.

The announcement was made at SHMAA's 56th Blue Marlin International tournament at Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Portland.

The money will be handed over to the Action Ann Foundation.

“We have a special donation of $60,000 from SHMAA and the National Health Fund, another $60,000 to the Action Ann Foundation to provide free mammogram tests for the women of Portland. I am putting it out on the floor for others to donate,” tournament director Maxim Rochester said.

This was followed by pledges totalling just over $1 million.

Member of Parliament (MP) for Portland Eastern Ann-Marie Vaz noted that the contribution is a “fitting one” for the month of October.

October is observed as breast cancer awareness month.

“One of the issues that most Members of Parliament face in the rural areas is our women are afraid of the mammogram and have been afraid, so they never go to get a mammogram,” Vaz pointed out.

“Breast cancer, as we know, with early detection, can be cured and you live a healthy life,” she added.

Vaz, in the same breath, shared that it was her husband Daryl, Member of Parliament for Portland Western, who encouraged her to get tested.

“My personal story is that about three years ago I went to do my mammogram. My husband is the one who took me to the doctor. So men encourage your women to go and get their mammogram; it's a partnership.

“I went along because I [thought] I was just going to get a lunch date with my husband. Lo and behold they found a [lump] in my left breast. This is the first time I'm publicly telling my story and my world stopped in that moment because you are faced with this crisis. [It wasn't] until I got back the diagnosis that I was clear that I started encouraging women to do the mammogram because it saves lives,” Vaz said.

The MP said with the money raised, Portland women will be transported into Kingston to have tests done the Action Ann Foundation.

Portland is currently without a mammogram machine.

“I am so thrilled and my undying gratitude to you all,” she said.

— Everard Owen


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