Yesterday, we were delighted to attend the St Kitts World Cancer Day Luncheon. This was an event organised as a celebration of hope to honour the lives of cancer survivors in St Kitts and Nevis. The event was organised by the Health Promotion Unit at the Ministry of Health with support from Lake Health and Wellbeing and the Department of Youth Empowerment.
The event featured talks from high-profile guests including the Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Social and Community Services and Gender Affairs, Minister Wendy Phipps and Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws.
We also heard from cancer survivors who shared their experience very powerfully through poetry and testimonies. Carla Astaphan recited her poem Left Breastie which she wrote shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and Agness Farell spoke of her experience of being diagnosed in 1998, she recounted her ups and downs and the formation of her support group Reach for Recovery.
In addition to these presentations, the Coordinator of Community Nursing Services, Nurse Eulynis Brown gave a very informative overview of cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine which will soon be introduced in St Kitts and encouraged attendees to support the Ministry in its roll-out as it’s a very effective method of preventing cervical cancer.
The highlight of the event was the presentation made to the longest living, oldest and youngest cancer survivors. It was moving to see the longest living cancer survivor being recognised, she was diagnosed 21 years ago and faced both breast and lung cancer. Despite all her challenges, now at the age of 82, she is so positive, happy and full of life; a true hero and inspiration to us all.
This was a positive and uplifting event which demonstrated the strength of the human spirit and we were honoured to have attended and been asked to deliver the vote of thanks.