The BVI Cancer Society (BVICS) has reported that because cancer is a very costly disease the organization continues to see an increase in requests for treatments; and while the organization stated that it continues to do fundraisers, it was mentioned that some unscrupulous persons have been capitalizing on this important cause by raising money in the name of cancer and not passing it on to the Society. These disclosures were made by the Society in a report that was tabled in the House of Assembly on 17 December.
According to the report the Cancer Society has been rendering assistance to persons in the community for cost of overseas travel for treatments. The organization said that financial assistance was issued for chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and laboratory tests for cancer detection including mammograms and sonograms for residents of the Virgin Islands.
The BVICS stated that given the demand for its services and the fact that all of its members are volunteers the organization is in need of a part time or fulltime employee at the office. It was explained that the absence of such an employee is the number one challenge of the organization as individuals seeking assistance and financial support can only be assisted after working hours.
With the prevalence of cancer, the Society explained that it ought to be recognized as a representative of all cancers and not only as a breast cancer society. It was mentioned that some improvements in this area were made in 2018. However, the organization remarked that it still has a long way to go. “We are committed to continually inform the populace that we support the fight against all cancers,” the report stated.
While the BVI Cancer Society is continuing to promote prevention of all cancers in the Territory and raising funds to support those affected by this life-threatening illness; some in the community some people abuse the situation. In the report the Society mentioned that some members of the business community take advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities for profit without making available funds to cancer patients for their treatment.
“This behavior is unethical, and we are therefore appealing to the general public to support the BVI Cancer Society in its efforts. One hundred percent of the funds raised by BVICS goes directly back into the community to help those afflicted with this dreaded disease,” the organization said.
The BVI Cancer Society also lamented the need for a cancer registry in the Territory in its report. In noting the need the organization said, “The absence of a Virgin Islands Cancer Registry documenting cases of cancers and identifying the areas throughout the Virgin Islands where persons living with cancers reside.”
BVICS also stated that it has been forced to take the matter into their own hands and commence chronicling the vital information. “We have started documenting cancers from applications that we have received since the beginning of November 2015. We have continued to collect information and will continue to do so until a National Cancer Registry has been implemented.”