Cancer Foundation remains safe haven for patients, survivors
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Founder and President of the Guyana Cancer Foundation, Bibi Hassan
Founder and President of the Guyana Cancer Foundation, Bibi Hassan

REGISTERED in 2016, the Guyana Cancer Foundation has established its place in society and is considered a safe haven for those who are receiving treatment as well as those who have beaten the odds and survived.

Its Founder and President, Bibi Hassan, in a recent interview, chronicled the growth of her foundation and her vision for increasing access to cancer treatment in Guyana.

Motivated by her own personal experience, Hassan shared that at a young age she became a care giver to her mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage two, and I was her care giver …my mom survived cancer. She had a mastectomy [and] she is now 79-years-old,” she told the Guyana Chronicle.

A tearful Hassan disclosed that it was the pain she watched her mother endure that motivated her to work so closely with breast cancer patients.
“I was there when all her hair fell out when she had to do chemotherapy. I was there all the time with her and she is a very strong woman and she has inspired me to help many women in Guyana,” she said adding: “She is my rock, she is my inspiration and I thank God for having her in my life at this time.”

Hassan told this publication that she had worked closely with the Avon community health fund, assisting as many women as she could. However, following much vicissitude, the company was dissolved.

Refusing to let the work she had done go down the drain, Hassan, with the assistance of her former boss and many donors, created the Guyana Cancer Foundation which, to date, is a safe haven and information hub for cancer patients in Guyana and across the Caribbean region.

“This initiative started when I was the treasurer for the Avon community health fund for 10 years until Avon was dissolved in 2015. Two years after that the CEO for the health fund, she called me and she discussed this whole breast cancer thing and she told me I was the only person who had the vision to take over that part of it.”

After registering the foundation, Hassan began a vigorous screening programme offering mammograms and sonograms to the general public. She also held a number of medical outreaches across the country.
Soon after, Hassan also created a cancer survivors club to provide much needed assistance to persons who have won and are fighting the battle against the deadly disease.

“In 2018, we formed a cancer survivors club where we now have 28 members with different types of cancer. The club is more or less a support group,” she said.

Speaking on future projects, Hassan disclosed that she will soon be reaching out to the Government of Guyana for some assistance to extend her services as she wants to reach many more cancer patients across the country.

She explained that her aim is to provide housing for cancer patients who have to travel from interior regions to the capital city for treatment.
“I’m actually calling on the government to help me. My vision is to help cancer patients when they come. When they want to stay, I have two rooms. I would very much like to help when they come and they have to spend over night,” she explained.

Additionally, she is advocating for the establishment of additional radiation therapy services in the country to cater for those who may not be able to afford the costly treatment.

“I’m advocating for another radiation therapy…where we can have low-cost rates. I know radiation therapy is expensive but I think for the poorer people, because of money many of them die because they can’t afford to pay for radiation therapy,” she added.

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