Fund Raising Banquet for Belize Cancer Patients

Just this past weekend we saw a cancer awareness initiative to raise funds for  cancer patients in Belize. Well this coming weekend another such initiative takes place this coming weekend.

Mary A. Usher Swales, of Belize Chemotherapy Organization of New York, Inc, came to Belize on the latter part of last year to kick start preparations for a fund raising banquet. Today she is back in the country to oversee the event in its final stages of preparations.

vlcsnap-2014-05-20-18h32m33s251Mary A. Usher Swales- Belize Chemotherapy Organization of New York

“The event is scheduled for May 24th of this year from 6:00 p.m. to midnight at the ITVET building on Freetown Road and the cost is $50 per person.  They are getting a lot because they are getting dinner and they are also getting music.  They could dance to the Cool Jays band and we also have a special artist, Mr. Ben McKoy who will be singing for us too, at this event“.

She explains how the funds generated from this event will be utilized to assist cancer patients in Belize

Mary A. Usher Swales: “The event is to raise funds only for cancer patients in Belize City.  Like I said, we laison with the Cancer Center in Dangriga.  All our funds go to the Cancer Center.  We are a non-medical cancer organization.  So, we do not determine who gets the money; the Cancer Center determines that and they award it to the cancer patients who desperately need, who really cannot afford to pay for their chemotherapy.  That is how we, the Belize Chemotherapy Organization of New York step in with the monies”.

Tickets will be available at the door for $50 Bz.

vlcsnap-2014-05-20-20h43m43s31It’s difficult enough to get a job these days, but if you have physical and especially mental disabilities, it can be even tougher.

Persons who have succumbed to depression or suicidal thoughts, or those with more straightforward disorders including dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and others may be discarded despite their qualifications and experience.

The Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Unit aims to change that, beginning with a briefing for persons who work with mental patients to re-integrate them back into society.

Nurse Eleanor Bennett of the Mental Health Unit explains more about the program, and why a mental disability should not be a death sentence.

vlcsnap-2014-05-20-20h42m34s90Eleanor Bennet- Mental Health Unit, Ministry of Health

“The statistics will tell you that people with mental disabilities are among the other people that are unemployed or they suffer from.  They take on that barrier and their environmental…or they suffer from a quite apparent unemployment.  It can be personal barriers, environmental, as it relates to then either finding work, or going back to work after they have had a relapse.  We hear the stories about when we go on tour, how they see them different. People treat them differently.  That adds additional stress.  That is one of the things that contribute not giving them to function well at work”. 

Tomorrow, the conference moves to San Ignacio where individuals with mental issues will be counseled through approaches to seeking jobs.

Facilitator for the conference is Carey-Ann Clarke of Disability Aid Abroad, a Northern Ireland charity established to change the lives of people with disabilities living in developing countries.

vlcsnap-2014-05-20-20h52m52s144Carey Ann Clarke- Facilitator for Disability Aid Abroad

“It is a real issue around the employment of people with mental health in this country as well, and there is a lot because the country has signed to the UN Convention on Human Rights.  There is a lot that may be shared on how they can support that employment and stuff.  So, what awe are trying to do is to talk about this job coaching role; sit down and talk to the consumers about all their circumstances, and then also for the job coach to put a very good understanding on environment on which they are working, so, basically the job coach will be an advocate.  It will be safe for the employee and the employer as well.  So, this is the model that we are bringing.  I believe it is fresh in Belize as well”.

When the Supportive Employment Program is fully implemented it is expected that businesses will be approached for their cooperation.

About the Author