Georgetown, Guyana – (July 30, 2018) Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence, today, pledged her Ministry’s support to the Giving Hope Foundation’s initiatives aimed at supporting cancer awareness and quality of life improvement for cancer patients and their families. The Minister was at the time speaking at the Foundation’s opening ceremony for its second annual ‘Bereavement Camp’, which is provides counselling and other forms of coping mechanisms to children who have lost a parent or family member as to cancer or suicide.

The Minister, during her brief remarks, offered kind words of encouragement to the camp’s participants and expressed her gratitude to the Foundation for incorporating the Ministry of Public in this venture. “I am sure that during your camp sessions you will learn more about cancer and will have the opportunity to ask questions so as you become ambassadors, you will be able to share with others. I wish to thank all of the organisers, those present and not present, and the Giving Hope Foundation for inviting me to be a participant in this ceremony. Once again, I pledge the Ministry of Public Health’s commitment and support to initiatives of this nature,” she said.

Along with the Ministry of Public Health, the Foundation has also partnered with the Office of the First Lady, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure the success of this venture.

PAHO/WHO’s Country Representative Dr. William Adu-Krow, in his remarks said that cancer continues to be a global fight for all stakeholders. He, however, used the occasion to pledge his organisation’s support to the cause. “PAHO/WHO congratulates the Giving Hope Foundation on the hosting of this camp and pledges its commitment to continue to provide technical corporation to the Ministry of Public and other Civil Society organisations such as Giving Hope Foundation for their implementation of interventions to fight cancers in Guyana and [to address] the grief that the death of a loved one poses or causes to children and their families,” he said.

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, urged the young participants to utilize their time spent at the camp as she highlighted the benefits they would gain from the activity. “What I love about Giving Hope Foundation is the energy and enthusiasm with which they approach their projects. As they said they are looking at care, they are looking at counselling, they are looking at support. So when we look at the survivor’s camp [Bereavement Camp], which began last year, they are bringing young people who may not be able to cope with the loss of a parent or a sibling or some friend or relative, to share experiences, to understand and accept that what they are going through and what they are feeling is natural… What this camp is doing for you is teaching you not just to get by but to get on, it is helping you to take that first step towards moving on in life and accepting your grief as natural,” the First Lady said.

President of the Giving Hope Foundation, Dr. Latoya Gooding, explained that the Bereavement Camp this year facilitates 50 children and will be hosted at Camp Madewini on the Linden Highway. Dr. Gooding also gave an overview of the activities they intend to cover during the one-week camp.

“We will be having psychological sessions, we have Dr. Ren Gonsalvez from the Eureka Medical Laboratory, and we have Mr. Will Campbell and Ms. Renita Savory from the Ministry of Public Health who will be traveling each day to conduct psychological sessions with these children. After the psychological sessions, we have included some craft for the children, among other activities,” she shared.

The Giving Hope Foundation is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to improving the quality of life and addressing mental health issues in both adults and children diagnosed with cancer and other chronic illnesses in Guyana.

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