Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sensational Sisters Give to the Fight Against Cancer

Sensational Saunders sisters from left to right: Sandra, Stephanie and Paula

A story of how 3 sisters of Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera work together to raise more than $10,000 to aid in the fight against cancer.

Eleuthera, Bahamas – Hope is not just a dream, but a way of making dreams possible. This is exactly what the Saunders sisters, contributed to Eleuthera when they partnered with the Cancer Society of Eleuthera (CSE) to host the organization’s 1st Annual “Hope Ball”.
Under the theme “Celebrating the Joy of Life”, the event was held on Saturday, March 1st at the Society’s Wellness Center in Palmetto Point.

With the alarming increase in the number of cancer cases on the island, the Cancer Society has been overwhelmed by requests for assistance for medical care and treatment. Thus, when the idea for a ball was presented by the Saunders sisters, CSE gladly accepted the proposal, as all proceeds from the event will assist cancer patients on Eleuthera.

The sensational sisters, namely Stephanie, Paula and Sandra, are well-known around the Governor’s Harbour community for their generosity and serving spirits. The ‘ball’ concept was divinely birthed by Stephanie who was the recent recipient of a Salute To Greatness Award in October 2013. Stephanie admitted, “Every day the idea nagged at my heart until I started to act on it.” She said that she was restless until she did what she was urged to do.

With the approval of the Cancer Society, the sisters got busy working their magic, creating a network of volunteers and donors to make “Hope Ball” a reality and a prodigious success.
The sisters are go getters by nature and know full well the power of partnerships. They had no doubt that such an event could be successful, and it was. They have proven the power of unity on many occasions. This threesome is a great example for others in the community to follow.
Eleuthera saw a community come together for a common goal and it was no vain undertaking. All food and catering was donated thanks to the relentless efforts of dedicated volunteers. The function was well supported as persons from the length and breadth of the island came together to give hope and celebrate life.

Of all cancers, statistics identify breast cancer as the number one cancer killer among Bahamian women. Eleuthera is no exception. Studies further reveal that nearly 45% of Bahamian women, when diagnosed with breast cancer, are already in late stage of the disease compared to 12% in the United States. About 43% of Bahamian women who are diagnosed with Breast cancer die before age 50 while in the U.S the average age is 65. Additionally, it was found that 24% – 27% of Bahamian women have mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes which put them at a higher risk for developing the disease. In fact, The Bahamas has the highest known population of this mutation in the world. Other cancers exist here, but we see breast cancer statistics being a more dominant and deadly force. Our women are encouraged to get screened regularly, but there is no screening machinery on island.

The One Eleuthera Foundation, the Rotary Clubs of the Bahamas and the Cancer Society of Eleuthera continue to work together feverishly on efforts to make imaging services such as mammograms and ultrasounds available and affordable on the island of Eleuthera as well as BRCA gene testing. With these services in place, no doubt, we will see a major decrease in late stage cancer detection and quite possibly save the lives of many. In the interim, regular screening is encouraged. Today, imaging on the island of Eleuthera is merely an idea. The hearts of those who toil are filled with hope for tomorrow’s reality.

For more information on how you can donate to the Eleuthera Imaging Program, call 242.334.4630 or email info@oneeleuthera.org.


Gacintha Deveaux-Gordon, IT/Communications

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