Eleuthera, Bahamas – July 29, 2013 — The One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) recently expanded its work in strengthening Eleuthera’s communities by joining forces with Susan G. Komen®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, to increase breast cancer awareness efforts on the island.

As part of this new partnership, OEF has created a new role of a community outreach coordinator and designed a vigorous breast cancer awareness program for the island. Its main goal is to distribute information to the public about various cancers, dispel cancer myths and describe the services offered by the OEF and its partners. Other targeted areas include increased knowledge of breast cancer and other life threatening diseases, the promotion of early detection, provisions to aid in the treatment of and recovery from such ailments, support for cancer patients and their families and the collection of accurate statistical data in relation to cancer and breast cancer in particular. These are just a few of the items on the agenda. 

“Susan G. Komen is proud to collaborate with government officials, medical professionals, corporate partners, scientists, survivors, and advocates in The Bahamas who are taking bold strides toward ending breast cancer forever,” said Nancy G. Brinker, Founder and Chair of Global Strategy. “We are honoured to be able to support the efforts of all of our partners in The Bahamas, especially the One Eleuthera Foundation who is working to increase awareness and ultimately improve care and treatment outcomes.”

As a part of OEF’s Health and Wellness initiative, OEF has created a role of a fulltime Community Outreach Coordinator (COC) in the person of Maisie Pinder to push forward the goals of educating the public of their breast cancer risk. This great partnership has already yielded good fruit. This past June, every community on Eleuthera was visited by community educators and given much needed breast cancer health information. Hence, for Eleuthera, the journey to the cure has begun.

Over the years, cancer has been a leading cause of death in The Bahamas. The island of Eleuthera is no exception. Research conducted by Dr. Judith Hurley, Medical Director of the Hematology/Oncology Clinics and the Medical Oncology Consultant for the Taylor Breast Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida., indicates that according to one study, 23 percent of Bahamian women diagnosed with breast cancer carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, the highest known population in the world to carry this mutation. Statistics reveal that 43 percent of Bahamian women diagnosed with breast cancer die before the age of 50 while the average age of death in women in the U.S. is 68. These statistics are alarmingly high and it is the goal of OEF to reverse this trend and make a lasting impact on cancer on Eleuthera. 

The campaign began this past June with an island-wide survey, inclusive of Spanish Wells and Harbour Island. This activity was headed by a multidisciplinary team from Emory University’s Global Health Institute, assisted by the COC, Maisie Pinder. 

In my capacity as Community Outreach Coordinator for The One Eleuthera Foundation, I see the dawning of a new day on the island of Eleuthera,” Maisie said “Already we are on the ground and evangelizing real contact with our women about breast cancer.” 

The report from the surveys conducted last month used mixed methods to assess community needs and perceptions of One Eleuthera and its partnerships, as well as evaluated the partnership’s goals and resources. Each method is scaled in a way that takes into account the short duration of in-country research time, ensuring that the project creates the most robust description of the partnership within the confines of the project timeline. Further, the report will provide recommendations as to the appropriate information that should be disseminated at outreach activities conducted during the project which will include community meetings, seminars, forums, one-on-one counselling, and presentations at schools, and church groups, civic groups and other organizations. 

Enthused about her new position, Maisie feels that she is helping to make a huge difference in the lives of so many women on Eleuthera by simply reaching out to them with valuable information they need and empowering them to take charge of their own well- being. 

“We have already dispelled a myth that so many of them believed:  I just wish I could share the look on their faces when they learned that mammograms do not hurt and then they agreed to have their breasts screened. It’s just priceless!,” Maisie described. “It is such a good feeling when they actually ‘get it’. Without a doubt, this is going to be an impactful and exciting journey and I intend to give it my all.”

For more information, visit www.oneeleuthera.org or call 242-334-2643.