Lions in Action: Walking for the Cure
Giving Hope to the Women in the Cayman Islands
This year, it’s anticipated 1.5 million people worldwide will learn they have breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, but in the Cayman Islands, information about this treatable disease was hard to come by.
The Lions Step In
The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens decided it would take a stand. Lions brought information, awareness and resources to their community, and distributed hundreds of vouchers for mammograms. “We’ve made it our signature project because it is an issue that is very dear to our hearts,” said Carmin Godfrey, a member of the Tropical Gardens Lions Club.
Lions also established a memorial 5K walk and hundreds of walkers and runners turn out for the event each year. In addition, they provide financial and emotional support to women undergoing treatment.
Hard Work Pays Off
But the Lions didn’t stop there. Because most breast cancers can be treated successfully if caught early on, the Lions began several educational efforts. Each October, Lions organize sessions in each of the seven community districts on Grand Cayman. These workshops discuss breast health, mammograms, self examinations and how to reduce risk factors.
And their efforts have paid off – a local doctor reports that advanced breast cancer has dropped significantly and they’re seeing breast cancer patients sooner, creating a higher rate of treatment success. “I just want to say thank you, you have no idea how much your support means,” said breast cancer survivor Becky Ebanks. “Everyday it’s saving a life.”
Each year, Lions provide between 500 and 600 vouchers for free mammograms. And more than 5,000 women have benefitted from the educational and preventative measures Lions provide.
- Why did the club decide on this project? »
When we began this project in 1997, educational resources about breast cancer were not readily available in the Cayman Islands. We wanted to increase awareness and provide tools to women who were at risk.
- How did Lions start the project? »
We partnered with local healthcare providers and approached media outlets about our cause. We decided on the types of activities we wanted to provide, including the workshops and 5K walk, then decided how to fill those events with useful, relevant information.
- How do you advertise your events? »
We use every form of media available, from television to the Internet, to get the word out. We also rely on Lions to tell their friends and neighbors about our workshops and walk to keep the excitement alive.
- What kinds of resources does it take to keep the project going? »
We eagerly accept any volunteer who wants to help. We rely on the community and local businesses for financial support. We also welcome the assistance of healthcare providers to educate women about early detection and prevention.
- Any special words of advice? »
Momentum is important – as soon as this year’s 5K and workshop is complete, we start planning what we will do the following year. We are constantly improving the events so we stay current with the latest medical information.