Human rights activist and author Sukree Boodram lost her battle with cancer on Saturday morning.
Boodram’s sister, Nina Sattie Singh-Boodram, announced on Facebook that she died peacefully at around 3 am on Saturday with family at her bedside.
A survivor of domestic violence, Boodram, a US-based Guyanese wrote a book titled Breakout in which she described to the world the horrifying experiences she and her two children endured at the hands of a man they called husband and father. That was in 2010.
Since that time Boodram has returned to Guyana several times as she assisted women who have experienced domestic violence and in collaboration with Dianne Madray founded the Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA). This organization not only helped women and children in Guyana but also those living in the Caribbean. Tiffany Jackson, another survivor of domestic violence, is the group’s local coordinator.
Since her death many have taken to Facebook to praise Boodram for the work she has done and according to one user the Guyanese has worked with passion and determination to fight the scourge of domestic violence.
The Guyana Cancer Foundation on its page described Boodram as a “real fighter” who tried to win the fight against cancer. In her last post on Facebook on May 21, Boodram noted that as there is birth there will be death announcing that hers “was in the making for some time now.
“I fought with all my strength to postpone it as long as possible, but now I find myself unable to continue.” She asked that her family be kept in prayers.
In the February 19, 2017 issue of Women’s Chronicles published in the Sunday Stabroek Boodram spoke about her battle with cancer, which she said had gone into remission after about a year but returned aggressively in January last.
She was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer and she had described how she walked around with the symptoms for quite some time before it was diagnosed and by that time the cancer was at stage 4.
Boodram suffered from Ewing Sarcoma, a bone cancer that affects mostly children and is rare in adults. From the size of the mass, she said, it was estimated that it manifested in her in about six months, and metastasized in soft tissue in her lungs. And even though she had symptoms of the cancer it was not picked up by her primary care physician.
“If I had known early on, I could have caught it earlier and be rid of it,” she related.
She recalled the moments after the diagnosis was made. “I was lying in the ER, in pain and heavily medicated. I was barely making sense of my environment. After they took the CT scan, the doctor came to my bedside with my sister there and he said he had very bad news. I seemed to have stage 4 cancer and it was all over the right lung. At first, he thought it was lung cancer, but later we learned it was not.”
Thoughts of her two children kept her going in the days after diagnosis, even as she lay in a hospital bed wondering if her life would have ended.
“… I knew I did not finish my job as a parent and I want to see them both finish [college]. My daughter finishes her programme in May 2018 and my son finishes in December 2017. “I really wanted to fight hard for them. My son struggles each day with my illness and he is not a really stable person in himself. I worried that if I died prematurely, he would fall apart and not be able to recover. Even though he is 25, he is not able to handle this cancer and any level of stress. So I keep on going for my children.”
In a 2010 interview with the Sunday Stabroek Boodram had described walking away from her husband and the father of her children as one of the hardest things she had to do but that after 21 years of abuse she knew she had to leave or sentence herself and children to a life of misery.
“It was one of the most difficult things I had to do; walk away from someone I loved, tear a family apart and concern myself with the welfare and safety of myself and my children. But I also learned that I could not make him stop drinking or change his abusive behaviour,” she had said at the time.
Boodram worked as a Senior Finance Manager with Starwood Vacation Ownership, Orlando, Florida, a division of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Prior to that, she was the Regional Controller for Sunterra Resorts, Inc, Orlando, Florida.
She was responsible for the Eastern US and Caribbean Region. Her accounting career began as an Accounts Payable Clerk for Holiday RV Superstores, Inc, Orlando, Florida in 1989. By the time she left Holiday RV Superstores ten years later she was the National Accounts Payable Manager for their US operations.