St James residents get free breast cancer screening


St James residents get free breast cancer screening

Thursday, November 19, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James -More than 80 individuals from St James recently received free mammogram and prostate screenings as a result of a partnership forged between the Janet Richards Foundation (JRF), Hospiten Montego Bay and couple Mark and Gwendolyn Kameka.

The week-long screening exercise, which was undertaken at Hospiten Montego Bay, was inspired by Gwendolyn Kameka, a Jamaican native now residing in the United States, who is a breast cancer survivor.

The Kamekas, who raised the funding for the screenings through GoFundMe and other sources, got in touch with Janet Richards, founder and president of JRF to coordinate the screenings.

Speaking at the appreciation ceremony for the week-long screenings at the private hospital on Sunday, Richards said she was moved to tears when approached by her long-time friends and former neighbours to coordinate the initiative.

Hospiten, which was already offering a discount for mammograms, further reduced their price to partner with the initiative. It turned out that 81 women, all over 40 years old, were screened, and one man who turned up was screened for prostate cancer.

“She [Gwendolyn] not only provided the funding for the screening, but transportation for the participants... covered all costs associated with the initiative. Hospiten was approached, a plan was put in place, and Hospiten reduced the cost even less,” Richards explained.

“She (Gwendolyn) had said 60 and when I got more names she said take them and we ended up with 82 names,” added Richards.

In fact, Richards noted that Gwendolyn did not hesitate to get the programme going even though the foundation, which was officially launched earlier this year, “is really for children that are physically challenged, children that are in State homes, children generally”.

“I extend to other people if I see that they have a need, but the foundation is really for children; especially children that are physically challenged and those that are in State homes,” the retired banking executive explained.

Gwendolyn, who joined Sunday's ceremony virtually, gave her commitment to stage the programme next year.

In fact, according to Richards, in the next two weeks, Gwendolyn will be sponsoring 25 additional screenings.

The breast cancer survivor encouraged women to get annual screening.

“Whatever the result is, it's not the end of the world,” she stressed.

Sergio Arroyo, general manager for Hospiten, and Samuel Alfonso Diaz, country manager, expressed thanks to the JRF and sponsors for the opportunity to be a part of the venture, noting that at their medical facility the patient is first.

The country manager said that their aim is to “try to improve the health system in Jamaica and assist the general public”, while the general manager noted that the prices at the facility are “actually not bad”.

Testimonials from three recipients followed, including the only male. They all highlighted the outstanding customer service and hospitality extended to them during the screening.

Carol Wallace expressed that “this was the best mammogram I had ever,” “no pain nor discomfort”, as she thanked the foundation for the timely intervention.

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