Mexican, Canadian, and American women working together – oh what we accomplished! Our 2014 La Penita Cancer de Mama Clinic fitted 425 breast cancer survivors of all ages from all over the state of Nayarit with custom made bras and prostheses. Many visited the wig and hat/scarf shop and the “look good-feel good” tent. We sewed bras, served everyone lunch, had fun with laughing yoga, played bingo, and told stories through our scrapbooking. Smiles and hugs all around.
Our thanks to those north of the border who donated bras, prostheses and wigs and to the snowbirds who transported these in RV’s and even by plane. Thanks also to those from all three countries who donated funds and food for the clinic and to the more than 250 volunteers who came to help out. We learned a lot from each other.
We want to extend special congratulations to the second annual Guadalajara Clinic that served about 300 women at its March event. We provided start-up funds for this clinic last year and gave further funds again this year. The clinic is sponsored by the Instituto Anahuacalli, a private school and foundation in Guadalajara. The school has been actively fund-raising and has let us know that their clinic is unlikely to need funds from us in the future. What good news and what a success. Our combined efforts are reaching so many women!
The future for Cancer de Mama holds both challenges and opportunities. First – how can we reach even more women? Second, can we overcome the transport and import problems that have developed as more goods are needed and border requirements tighten? We think the answer to both questions is YES. We are now exploring sources for made in Mexico products, especially bras. And we are using the expertise of Mexican women to create “been-a-boobs”. These are light weight prostheses that have found acceptance among many breast cancer survivors. Made of synthetic beads and fibrfeill contained in a soft fabric pocket, they are cooler and less prone to damage in the hot Mexican climate. They can be made locally.
We believe there is opportunity for a future of multiple clinics run by Mexican women and for home grown product. You can help us move in this direction. We still need bras, prostheses and wigs; check our website for suggestions. Increasingly, however, we will need financial donations. Our coffers are healthy right now and we finished the year with over 230,000 pesos or roughly $20,000. This will keep us going for a year or so, but as we change in response to the opportunity to reach more women, so will our needs. The website also gives information on how to make financial donations.
Thanks to all for your support and help: past, present, and future.
Carole Thacker, Chair