Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, on Friday visited the Beacon Hospice on Thomas and New Market Streets, where he made a personal pledge of $500,000 and other forms of support to the charitable organization.
Beacon Hospice provides home-care, counselling services and other forms of support services to persons, who are diagnosed with cancer.
The Hospice, which is run under the Beacon Foundation brand, caters primarily to women and children, who travel out of town for treatment at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and other privately run hospitals.
The aim is to reduce the burden of travelling and the associated costs. All services are provided free of cost to the patient including accommodation and meals.
As well as paying the wages of its employees, the entity puts all the profits from its food catering operations to fund its programmes and takes pride in the fact that it is the only totally self-sustaining charitable organisation in the country.
During his visit, Minister Harmon said that he first learnt of the Foundation several years ago after his brother was diagnosed with cancer. The Foundation at that time, provided nurses, who not only administered treatment but also provided counselling to his sibling.
The Minister of State noted that even though some time has elapsed since then, he is inspired by the Foundation’s work and believes that the nurses and care-providers of the organisation are “the unsung heroes.”
“I believe that you all are the unsung heroes because many times we see acts of charity being publicised but this organisation has not been one to do so. Yet your work is out there and that is because of the difference that you are making, it speaks for itself. Quietly you have been working,” he said.
The care-givers travel every week to five regions, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three) Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four), Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five), East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) and Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten) to provide welfare support and pain medication to clients at least once per month or the hospice provides care for 86 cancer patients currently.
Senior Nurse at the facility, Ms. Bibi Salim, said that the organisation tries as best as possible to ensure that patients are treated with love and care during their times of pain and struggle, Director, Dr. Kian Jabour said that it operates with the motto, “No cancer patient should die in pain or it should be minimal pain.”
The Foundation already benefits from an exemption of corporate taxes as well as support from the Ministry of Public Health.
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