How COVID-19 Has Affected the Cancer Society of The Bahamas

by HCC

Cancer Society of The BahamasThe Cancer Society of The Bahamas is committed to the awareness, education, prevention, research, advocacy, care, and cure of cancers and to serve cancer patients, survivors and their families, and persons at risk across The Bahamas.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Cancer Society of The Bahamas has a much greater responsibility to protect not only the clients who are all high risk but also staff members. The Centre is currently almost full with 9 of the 10 rooms occupied.

Sanitizing stations have been strategically placed throughout the facility to promote good hygiene. Staff and clients are regularly reminded to sanitize hands frequently and to wear face masks.

Cancer Society of The Bahamas
Cancer Society of The Bahamas

The new mandatory restriction of visitors have been especially difficult for our clients not only because they are from the Family Islands but also because they lose the therapeutic benefit of seeing loved ones.

Their outings are now limited to doctors’ visits, treatment sessions, pharmacy and grocery shopping. Despite the lockdown, patients at the Centre are still being transported to their regular chemotherapy and radiation treatments without interruptions and our dedicated staff including caregivers still work around the clock catering to our clients’ needs.

Unfortunately, even during this pandemic, cancer still ravages throughout The Bahamas. Our Family Island Mammogram Screening (FIMS) Program and Free Pap Smear and PSA Clinics have been on hold since February. This interruption will certainly impact early detection and result in delayed diagnosis and treatment. Everyday a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbour is diagnosed with this deadly disease and is in dire need of medical treatment.

Cancer Society of The BahamasAs a Non-Profit Organization, we are totally dependent on funding from various scheduled events, corporate sponsors, and the general public. Due to Hurricane Dorian last year, we have had to cancel two of our major fundraising events: the Annual Raffle in October and the Golf Tournament in January.

Because of the pandemic, the Annual Met Gala Ball usually held in May during Cancer Awareness Month was also cancelled. The likelihood of cancellation of our other annual fundraising events this year is high which means that the Centre will struggle to make ends meet like many households in The Bahamas in 2020. As the economy sinks to an all-time low, so will our funds and the ability to raise more.

The additional cost of anti-COVID-19 measures and the loss of our major fundraising events mean that the Cancer Society of The Bahamas will have to rely more heavily on the goodwill and generosity of businesses and corporations, financially-abled persons, and other NGOs to keep us afloat and prevent us from having to eliminate well-needed programmes and benefits for persons.

While we understand that many Bahamians are currently unemployed and many more are suffering, we hope that those who are able to help, can donate generously to the Cancer Society of The Bahamas so we can continue to assist persons who need us most. Even the smallest contribution will make a significant impact in someone’s life.

You can also see the excellent work that other CSO’s across the region are carrying out during the COVID-19 pandemic here.