Our Mission: Helping Women in Mexico Survive Breast Cancer with Comfort and Dignity
The first weekend of February last year, I had the opportunity and extreme pleasure to be a part of the Cancer de Mama clinic in La Penita. The project is a gathering of volunteers that come together for a concentrated weekend of service with a mission to help women of Mexico who have been tossed into the breast cancer arena. Last year we helped over 350 women. Women came on foot, by car, or by bus to attend the clinic where they were treated very special for a day, and went home with necessary items completely free, to help them with their journey.
At the clinic, women are fitted for breast prosthesis of all types; silicone and hand knit, crocheted & some foam. They are given bras and also offered a trip to the wig and hat booth where they can be fitted with wigs, hats, scarves, and sometimes a little bit of jewelry for adornment. There is a free clothing store for shopping before they leave. Volunteers stand ready to sew pockets into bras so that the women can make immediate use of the prosthesis they have just received. After all of this, there is a nice lunch offered where they have the opportunity to talk to other women in the same situation as they are. The entire weekend is very emotional. We see women in tears, experience many hugs and gracious thanks for what they have experienced, and somehow, we know that we have just made this one day a little better for these women.
As a breast cancer survivor myself, I know first hand the journey, but only the journey that is backed by an insurance company, wonderful medical facilities, top notch doctors, and supportive & caring families. There is no mystique for me surrounding breast cancer as there can be in Mexico. Education in Mexico can be very limited in regards to what breast cancer truly is. Women can experience a shunning from those in their villages, towns, and/or families. The lack of support, understanding, money, and oftentimes-even treatment, can make this journey a very hard one to even survive.
In the US and Canada, a good many people (including myself) have the ability to have prosthesis paid for by our insurance companies. We have bras and other accessories paid for that aid us in our cancer journeys. Many women of Mexico having such limited incomes could never imagine having a prosthesis that costs $100-$400 each (US), let alone an accessory such as a wig. Through the clinic this is possible for them.
Robbie Wright displaying the “Tit Bits” and “Chemo Caps” that she has been making, along with bras she has been collecting for the clinic. (top) Wendy with proud recipient of new prosthesis & bras. This lovely woman is a mother of 10 and has a supportive husband in her cancer journey.
What Can YOU Do To Help?
If you would like to contribute to this worthwhile cause, please feel free to do so in one of the following manners:
Money is ALWAYS needed for the purchase of food and other supplies to run this clinic. There are two ways to donate money from the US or Canada:
- Go online to the following website to make a secure paypal donation: Jaltemba Foundation. (Designate for Cander de Mama). The Jaltemba Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt corporation designed to bring an efficiency of scale to multiple donors with multiple interests yet bound by a common thread of philanthropic intent to benefit the citizens of Jaltemba Bay and the area as a whole. The Jaltemba Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors that works to match the resources of the foundation to the changing needs of their community.
- Make a check payable to the Jaltemba Foundation (Designate for Cancer de Mama) and send it to:
1401 Tacoma Pt. Dr E., Lake Tapps, WA 98391
If coming to Mexico:
- Donate your prosthesis (or gather from friends). We need all sizes!
- Gather & bring with you donations of bras (mastectomy bras or regular bras without underwire).
- If you knit, please check out this site for a wonderful breast form “Tit Bit” pattern developed by Beryl Tsang.
- If you crochet, here is a pattern inspired by the above.
- Bring new or gently used wigs, hats, scarves, and jewelry.
- Bring a few clothing items that are still in nice shape for the free store (including shoes!)
Be sure to check customs limitations when bringing the above items into Mexico. All items may be taken to the La Penita RV Park for donation after they open on November 1st.
The 4th Annual Cancer de Mama Clinic will be held Friday-Sunday, February 3-5, 2011 at the La Penita RV Park. If you would like more information on how to participate or volunteer, or would like to make a donation, please visit the Cancer de Mama website.