Royston Drakes Produc-tion through its ‘I’m a Big Deal’ empowerment and beauty pageant in collaboration with the Nand Persaud Charity Foundation last week honoured five Berbice cancer survivors at the St. Francis Community Developers headquarters located in Rose Hall Town.
The programme recognized and celebrated the survivors’ courage and victory against cancer, a disease which continues to affect the lives of hundreds of women and men countrywide. The five cancer survivors received hampers from Sterling Products Limited and were treated to lunch and pictures with the delegates.
Among those present were the Mayor of Rose Hall Town, Vijai Ramoo, a representative of the Nand Persaud Charity Foundation and Nurse Audrey Morris from the Guyana Cancer Foundation.
Morris, during her presentation to the gathering, stressed the importance of practising regular self-examination, noting that early detection can save lives. She also noted that both males and females should alert their doctors, during their regular appointments, of how they are feeling, and what their body is experiencing, while she stressed, that it is important for patients to question their doctor in order to ensure they receive the best health care.
Ramoo, in a short speech, spoke of the struggle men and women endure when battling cancer. He highlighted the need for a supportive team around cancer patients.
One of the honoured survivors, Tessa Johnson Rose of New Amsterdam, spoke of her journey. The woman in an emotional speech relayed that she was diagnosed in 1998. She explained that at the time many Guyanese doctors were not fully educated about cancer, and in order to survive the disease she had to make a trip to Trinidad and Tobago, which would cost her some $5000 US to receive treatment from a doctor there. She travelled to Trinidad and Tobago with $2500 US and a return ticket. However, she said she was determined to receive the necessary treatment, and after meeting with the Trinidad doctor and seeing how determined she was, he took $2000 US and set up a payment plan.
Rose also spoke of the troubles she endured during her pregnancies due to the illness. “They said I would never have kids, but today I am the mother of a 17 and 15 year old son,” said a proud Rose.
Rose also told the gathering that the disease caused her marriage to fall apart. She said, “I don’t blame my ex, I believe he couldn’t handle it anymore”.
The woman said, she had long beautiful hair but decided to “cut it out” at the beginning of the month in remembrance of all the persons who died from cancer.
She then thanked Tracy Khan, Coordinator of the ‘I’m a Big Deal Pageant’ and RD Productions for giving her a platform to share her story.
She encouraged cancer patients to never give up and reminded them that though the journey is not an easy one, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
RD Productions through its social awareness and empowerment community project undertook the event in an effort to raise awareness, and also encourage both men and women to pay greater attention to their health and wellbeing.