The La Penita Cancer de Mama Clinic provides a vital service to those struggling to cope with breast cancer. Over 427 Mexican women attended the recent clinic, traveling from across the state of Nayarit. What is shocking is that Nayarit has the distinction of having the highest incidence of female cancers in all Mexico. Just in the northern Nayarit municipality of San Pedro Lagunillas, which is a poor, mountainous agricultural area, the occurrence of female cancer is epidemic. There is a lack of after-surgery care provided by the Mexican government for the lower socioeconomic individuals without health insurance, which is approximately 60% of the Nayarit population. Being a poor woman complicates the physical aspects due to the lack of available options or assistance. Therefore, the service provided by the La Penita Cancer de Mama organization is a wonderful gift to these brave women as they rebuild their lives.
But it is more than the medical care that prompts the women to make the journey to La Penita. The clinic provides more than a free prosthesis and a hot meal- the clinic welcomes each and every woman with instant friendship and compassion in the smiles and hugs from all of the more than 200 volunteers!
Thank You for So Many Contributions:
This grassroots effort is solely funded by donations and without any paid staff. The astonishing transformation of a park clubhouse into an attractive, organized clinic for three days a year requires the cooperation and year-round efforts of many people. Even more amazing is that the majority of the clinic volunteers do not live in Mexico, but visit seasonally. The medical prosthesis are hauled from Canada and the US by RVs, as are the other supplies used at the clinic. Many local merchants donate food items that become the meal for the clients and volunteers. Others volunteers give their time to sort and organize the give-away materials, besides manning the actual clinic. Accolades go to the Cancer de Mama Clinic Executive Committee members and all the department chairs: what impressive talent and devotion besides tremendous heart. Thank you all for what you do!
As Susan Sloan, Cancer de Mama Clinic Supervisor said, “THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who worked so long and so hard to help make this year’s clinic such a wonderful event. I know the countless hours dedicated to this project were well rewarded this weekend. Thank You for your countless hours, your tears, your compassion, your laughter, sore muscles and tired feet! We did a great job and should be proud of ourselves.”
All of the volunteers I spoke with said the same thing: “It gives me such satisfaction to help out. I’ll be back next year.” Many international people worry that not knowing Spanish might be a handicap to volunteering; but as one of the volunteer translators explained for a Spanish speaking client, “I can read compassion and love in your eyes- there is no need for words.” It is the sincerity and passion of all the volunteers that make the La Penita Cancer de Mama Clinic the phenomenal experience for everyone.
Content © Tara A. Spears.