Hundreds gather to conquer cancer

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour declared Saturday, 21 Sept. as Cayman Cancer Awareness Day. Governor Martyn Roper and wife Elisabeth, left, were made patrons of the Cancer Society during the opening of the cancer fair. - Photo: Jewel Levy

Governor Martyn Roper kicked off the Cancer Society’s sixth-annual Conquering Cancer Health Fair Saturday.

At the ribbon cutting, Health Minister Dwayne Seymour proclaimed the day as Cayman Cancer Awareness Day.

“Studies have shown that those who are diagnosed at the earliest stage survive their disease at a significantly greater rate than those who are in more advance stages. Therefore, I want to encourage everyone to get regular screenings done,” said Minister Seymour.

The governor and his wife Elisabeth were made patrons of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.

Roper said attending a cancer event on the Brac was one of the very first things he and his wife had done after arriving in Grand Cayman.

Hundreds attended the event, which featured 40 community health booths and dozens of representatives.

It was aimed at educating the public about cancer and offering free screenings.

Baptist Health’s Rebekah Brooks, left, and Cancer Society Operations Manager Jennifer Weber promote pineapple for its cancer-fighting properties.

A team of experts from Cayman and around the world participated, with doctors giving talks on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatments.

“We only do the fair once every two years, but it just keeps getting bigger and better, it was huge,” said the Cancer Society’s Operations Manager Jennifer Weber.

She said the fair also offered healthy foods and information about healthy lifestyles.

Dr. Sook Yin has been on the Cancer Society Board since 2002 as medical director. She highlighted the healthy benefits of purslane at farmer Hamlin Stephenson’s booth.

“It can be put in sandwiches and other dishes; add a little salt and pepper and it’s the best thing you can eat every day,” Yin said.

Pink warriors: Lions Club of Tropical Gardens were all in pink for breast cancer awareness.

Rebekah Brooks, managing director of Baptist Health International Cayman Islands, said the organisation was happy to be one of the major sponsors of the event. She and her team offered healthy pineapple slices for tasting.

Locally certified life coach and cancer survivor Heather Lockhart offered learning strategies and informative tips for staying positive when the going gets tough.

Lockhart’s world was suddenly turned upside down in 2018 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Faced with a year of uncertainty, cancer treatment, surgeries and difficult decisions, she developed a wide variety of techniques to stay relentlessly optimistic.

She suggests fighting negative thinking and practising self-care, gratitude and mindfulness, as well as changing the way you look at a situation or think about it. Create your mantra, Lockhart said, and manage negative thoughts by repeating a positive phrase. Write it down and keep it highly visible.

Attendees left with new knowledge of how to stay healthy, and they also received free hygiene kits and healthy snacks.

Conquering Cancer VI was a three‑day event involving a symposium, health fair and public talks.

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