Hospital magazines needed

Long hours waiting for her friend and helper to undergo tests and treatment for cancer has prompted Carol Hay to launch a drive to provide a constant supply of magazines to waiting rooms in hospitals and health clinics throughout Cayman. 

Visitors to Books & Books in Camana Bay, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society next to the hospital in George Town and the District Administration Building in Cayman Brac will find collection bins into which they are encouraged to drop their used magazines as part of the Waiting for Josephine magazine collection campaign. 

Ms Hay’s good friend and employee Josephine Lindo, after whom the drive is named, passed away unexpectedly from complications related to her illness on 22 July, just a few days before the launch of the Waiting for Josephine drive. 

“She loved the idea. She fully supported it, but she didn’t live to see it come to fruition,” Ms Hay said. 

She said Ms Lindo’s sudden death had made her “even more determined that this magazine drive succeed – which I hope will grow and continue in perpetuity so that the waiting areas of the hospital will always have a constant supply of reading material”.  

Ms Lindo, from Jamaica, worked for the Hay family since 1991, when Ms Hay’s daughter Alyson was born. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in February this year and Ms Hay became her caretaker, accompanying her to doctor and testing appointments at the Cayman Islands Hospital.  

While waiting for countless hours in various parts of the hospital, she could not help but notice there was no reading material available in the waiting areas and made a promise to do something about it.  

She contacted the Health Services Authority’s information manager Sharaine Chin and got approval from the hospital’s CEO Lizzette Yearwood. Ms Chin and Ms Hay then approached Books & Books and the Cancer Society for their help. 

The next step was an appeal to the public to drop off all their old magazines at bins at those two sites and on Cayman Brac. 

“I feel this magazine appeal is being given wings by a higher power as everyone I’ve spoken to has been on board with this much needed project. Having Books and Books and the Cancer Society behind this project will result in a successful campaign,” Ms Hay said. 

Ms Yearwood said: “We are extremely grateful to Carol for this much needed initiative, which many other families and visitors will benefit from in years to come.” 

The magazines will be picked up from the drop-off points and will be distributed weekly to the hospital and district clinics. 

As well as supplying reading materials for patients, their families and friends, the drive is also a means for people to recycle their magazines, rather than throwing them in the garbage when they’ve read them. 

“There are over 15 waiting areas in the George Town Hospital alone,” said Ms Hay. “Add the district clinics, the dental and vision centres and these amount to a lot of waiting areas that would benefit with a constant supply of magazines. Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac will also receive magazines on a regular basis.” 

She hopes the drive will be a sustained one, as many people remove magazines from waiting rooms, so a constant and plentiful supply is necessary. 

“Most of us subscribe to at least a few magazines and we may also occasionally purchase one at the store. We read the articles, clip the recipes and file any important information – and then we’re left with a pile of old periodicals sitting in the corner. Don’t toss them out, the Waiting for Josephine project wants them and it is also a great way to recycle. Please support this hospital magazine appeal by donating your magazines once you are finished with them,” Ms Hay said. 

She recalled the dearth of reading material at the hospital while she waited for Josephine, who she called Joey. “I sat there once reading a Key to Cayman from 1991 and that was it. Not even a National Geographic was there and you can usually find old copies of them in waiting rooms,” she said. 

For the drive, all magazines are welcome, no matter how old. However, Ms Hay does not encourage people to donate books because she said many people waiting for their loved ones in a hospital corridor or waiting area are probably too distracted or upset to be able to become absorbed in a book. 

The magazines will be picked up from the drop-off points and will be distributed weekly to the hospital and district clinics. 

waiting for Josephine

Books & Books manager Megan McCluskey checks the Waiting for Josephine magazine bin. – PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY


  1. Although the sentiment behind this is laudable, it should be pointed out that many hospitals and clinics in other jurisdictions discard magazines and ban toys, due to the risk of contamination . The super-bug C difficile and other virulent viruses have been found on shared magazines. Especially alarming is the invitation to donate all magazines…no matter how old, as there are often molds and pesticides on old magazines.

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