The tea party at Dan and Lisa Scott’s residence on Saturday, Nov. 23 was not just a typical day of ladies in hats enjoying tea, sandwiches and cakes; it was an event with a purpose.
Organized by members of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, “A Cup of Tea Ends HPV” focused on raising awareness and funding to cover immunizations for young boys and girls in the hope of significantly lowering future cases of cervical cancer in the Cayman Islands and the rest of the Caribbean.
Sabrina Foster was instrumental in the creation and realization of the party that was sold out even before the tickets were printed. “I am absolutely overwhelmed by the turnout, and extremely excited to see the effort people have put in,” Foster said. “100 percent of the money raised today is going to the cause, so this is a fabulous result for us.”
Everything from the music to the raffle prizes was donated, including musicians from the Cayman Music School, tea from Tea Time in Cayman, and refreshments courtesy of Fosters Food Fair. Each table was intricately decorated in a theme – Christmas, Tennis, Birthday, Under the Sea, etc. – and guests dressed accordingly.
Suzy Soto was one of the many attendees, and agreed that it was an excellent event. “It’s amazing to see all the fantastic outfits and hats,” she said, “and productive women working for a great cause.”
The tea party was also held in the memory of Juliette Arch and Dorothy Stephenson, two of the founding members of what is now known as the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
Jennifer Weber, operations manager of the society, introduced Dr. Darley Solomon, a surgeon who has been practicing at Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital since 2011. He spoke in frank terms about his experience treating patients with HPV, and the importance of having children immunized, particularly as the vaccine was now readily available to parents.
Ms Weber continued the conversation by explaining how the society had worked with private doctors and the public health system to lower significantly the cost of vaccinations, and was working to offer them free of charge to parents who could not otherwise afford them.
Since 2008, the society has managed to reduce the cost of the three-shot immunization course of treatment from more than $400 to around $100. “What we’re doing is really critically important in saving lives,” Ms Weber said.
Dr. Solomon emphasized the importance of canvassing friends to get the word out. “There is simply no reason we shouldn’t be vaccinating our boys and girls,” he said.