National Cancer Society of TCI is a registered not for profit organization that started in 2004 as The National Cancer Society with 24 founding members comprised of cancer survivors, relatives, and other persons deeply concerned about the effects of cancer in our communities. We saw the need to create such a charitable organization in the fast developing business community of Providenciales where the effects of cancer were not as prevalent as today. The organization was established to promote awareness through various programs and through distribution of educational and promotional materials, to help, whenever and wherever possible, those affected by the disease.
Here is how it all started. During the experience of her husband’s illness and subsequent death as a result of cancer in late 2002, Mrs. G. Lucille Lightbourne had a desire to help other families to be better able to cope with their cancer struggles. She began by approaching others to determine whether such an organization existed in the TCI. She was informed of the newly organized Turks and Caicos Cancer Foundation in Grand Turk and subsequently spearheaded the birth of a Providenciales chapter. The Foundation was launched in Grand Turk with a Church service to mark the occasion and in Providenciales with a fundraising banquet. The first fundraising banquet was held in Providenciales in late April 2003 and was well attended by a cross section of the community. The relationship between the Grand Turk and the Providenciales chapters, however, was not ideal and, after many unsuccessful attempts to negotiate their solidarity, the members in Providenciales severed their relationship with Grand Turk and formed The National Cancer Society with Mrs. Lightbourne as the President. Mrs. Lightbourne continued to work with extreme selflessness to promote the Society to ensure its continued growth. Her hard work in the TCI community has been publicly recognized by the following awards:
- 2005: A Certificate and Medal of Honour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
- 2006: Country finalist of the FCIB Unsung Heroes competition which resulted in the Society receiving a cheque for $5,000.00
- 2008: She was the recipient of a Certificate of Recognition for community service by Baptist Health and The National Heart Foundation
- 2011: She received a community service award from the Native Men’s Fellowship
In late 2004 the organization was introduced in North Caicos with assistance from Ms. Veronica Smith and in Middle Caicos with assistance from Mrs. Dottis Arthur. In collaboration with the local healthcare professionals, persons learnt about breast self examinations (BSE) and healthy eating habits. The first annual walkathon and a church service were held in North and in Middle Caicos that same year. In October 2010, with the help of persons in South Caicos, we organized our first walkathon to promote cancer awareness there. We are just about ready to launch a chapter of the Society in South Caicos with tremendous help from Mrs. Emily Saunders.
Fundraising activities are held during each year. Usually there is a Healthy Lifestyle Seminar, a major fundraising event in May, Survivors’ Day Walkathon in June, and Breast Cancer awareness Walkathon and Luncheon in October. Each year in June there is a luncheon where our cancer survivors are treated by the Society. Tree of Hope campaign, our Christmas event, has become a much smaller event since the arrival of the Salvation Army which undertakes their major fundraising effort during the Christmas Holidays. Three times annually, including the NCS annual prayer service in January, the Society attends worship service at one of the local churches. Other special projects are also undertaken during the year.
In March 2005, The National Cancer Society opened its permanent headquarters at 1 Bristol House, The Centre, Providenciales, where cancer related items and literature on all types of cancer are available to the public and also where we hold our monthly meetings.
In 2006 the National Cancer Society was the recipient of proceeds from the 3rd annual Chief Minister’s Cup Golf Tournament. In October of that same year we hosted our first annual Breast Cancer Awareness luncheon sponsored by Baptist Health where Oncologist Dr Mary Jo Villar was the keynote speaker. Since then, Baptist Health has been consistently involved in our awareness promotions and has sponsored and provided speakers for a number of our events
As a result of our fundraising efforts we acquired a new Stenographe 800T mammogram machine which was dedicated and installed at the Myrtle Rigby Health Complex on May 2nd 2007. Mammogram screenings were held periodically from 2007 to 2010 with help from Dr. Dawn Perry, Dr. Rufus Ewing, the MRHC Radiology Department and Doctors Hospital-Nassau. In 2010 the society was assisted by Radiologists brought in from the Caribbean and by The Cleveland Clinic in Florida. The mammogram machine has since been enhanced and is now located at the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre. In collaboration with the Radiology Department at CHMC, the Society coordinates the registration of women from North, Middle and South Caicos, and throughout Providenciales for mammogram screenings. This promotional exercise is carried out twice yearly. The process was difficult at first but has become easier with time.
The summer of 2010, we were able to send a juvenile cancer patient to Camp Good Days held in New York. This trip was funded in part by Connolly Motors. In 2011 the society sent two patients to the camp, funded by National Colony Realty. Camp Good Days is an annual event and we hope to be able to send a patient each year (unless all our children are cancer free!).
The annual May event draws extensively from the corporate community and we express our sincere thanks and appreciation for all your help. We also benefit from special fundraisers organized by various other organizations and schools in the community, such as the annual “In the Pink” fundraiser held during the month of October and coordinated by Karen Whitt and friends. We are deeply appreciative of your thoughtfulness and generosity.
Our accounts are audited (by an in-house CPA) and managed by the Board of Directors, whose members for this year are:
- Vice President - Mrs. Terry Menely
- Treasurer - Ms. Marsha Williams
- Advisor - Mrs. G. Lucille Lightbourne
National Cancer Society of TCI continues to render emotional, spiritual, and financial assistance to individuals with cancer. Our membership totals about 100, including persons from North and Middle Caicos.
We are always seeking new members to help in this worthy cause. Anyone who is interested in becoming an active participant in this organization should contact the President or Secretary, or any one of the other members present.