Georgetown, Guyana – (August 7, 2017) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, expressed gratitude to the Giving Hope Foundation for organising its inaugural Bereavement Camp for children, who have lost a parent or family member as a result of cancer or suicide. The opening ceremony for the one-week camp, which caters to children between the ages of five and 18 years old, was held at 15 Ketley and Drysdale Street, Charlestown.

Mrs. Granger, while offering words of encouragement to the children, told them that “this is a hard time when many of you cannot understand why someone you love has been taken from you. You may feel sad. You may ask yourself why this has happened to you. Some of you may even blame yourselves. These are difficult feelings for anyone, more so for a child or teenager. And this is why Giving Hope Foundation has organised this Bereavement Camp to help you cope with these feelings.” The First Lady believes that the Camp provides the opportunity for the children to forge new relationships and widen their circle of support.

Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow said that childhood grief is more common than most persons realise and knowing how to communicate with a child, who has experienced the death of someone whom they shared a close relationship with, can be a challenging task.

Dr. Adu-Krow said, “Unaddressed grief can cause the youth to feel isolated and alone both in their family and from other children. Children who are grieving are at greater risk for depression, for suicide, for poverty and for substance and other related abuse.” Hence, he said, there is a need for a collaborative effort to provide support and care for children in these situations. Dr. Adu-Krow pledged PAHO/WHO’s continued support to the Giving Hope Foundation and its cancer advocacy efforts.

President of the Foundation, Dr. Latoya Gooding said that the organisation will continue to work towards improving the quality of life for adults and children diagnosed with various forms of cancer. However, given the alarming suicide rate in Guyana, the organisation decided to also direct its attention to those affected by the scourge by providing support in schools, churches and communities and by seeking out those who need counselling and support.

Over the week children will learn how to create memory frames of their loved ones, express their feelings through words and art, develop family trees, design Bereavement Camp T-shirts and go on field trips, among other activities.

Representative of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Ruth Williams and other members of both Government and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were also present at the event. The Office of the First Lady has thrown its support behind several cancer awareness events organised and supported by the Giving Hope Foundation and other NGO’s including the breast cancer awareness walk held last year October, which saw the participation of Minister of Public Telecommunications, Mrs. Catherine Hughes, representatives of the Oncology Department of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and representatives of the Cancer Institute of Guyana, among others.

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