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‘Walk for the Cure’ scheduled for October 6

Cancer Society patient Cleo Ferguson and her daughter Oprah Smith shared their story with CIBC FirstCaribbean Marketing Manager Nikia Christie when she visited the facility earlier this year. DELANO CULMER

Cleo Ferguson, 62, is fighting stage three breast cancer, but she said the battle is made easier with the help she receives from the Cancer Society of The Bahamas

“This is my heaven on earth,” said Ferguson, a Grand Bahama resident.

“When I’m here, I feel loved, cared for, and I treasure the help they give. People don’t understand that if you don’t have this kind of help as a cancer patient, you’re going to fail somewhere down the line.”

Ferguson first came to the Cancer Society of The Bahamas for treatment in 2016. The facility provides treatment and accommodation for cancer patients from the Family Islands, and in some instances their loved ones too.

The Cancer Society is one of the organizations supported by proceeds from CIBC FirstCaribbean’s annual “Walk for the Cure,” this year being held on October 6 in New Providence, Abaco, Eleuthera, and Grand Bahama.

Ferguson said the cancer has spread to her spine and shoulder.

“It’s kind of debilitating, but I know I’ve got it beat because I believe in a greater power, which is almighty God,” she added.

Anyone who has battled cancer can attest that a strong support system is crucial for recovery. Ferguson’s daughter, Oprah Smith, has been her caregiver and supporter.

“The treatments usually come once per week or per month, but my mother has to take four or more treatments at a time,” Smith said.

“Being from another island, like Grand Bahama, the tickets are very expensive. With the assistance we get from the Cancer Society, we don’t have to worry about making sure we have a decent place to stay.

“The staff are helpful in every way,” Smith added. “They check on you; they make sure your needs are met. I wonder how it is that they get to do this day in and day out, and see the suffering that people go through, without breaking down and saying ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ That’s amazing to me.”

Ferguson also addressed the importance of  having her daughter as her support system.

“It’s kind of hard when you don’t have help, you know,” she said. “So if you have a support group behind you, it gets a little bit easier, and you find self-healing quicker. The thing is, if you don’t have a good support group, I see a lot of people fold up and die.”

Smith added, “Sometimes when I look at my mom and other patients and see the pain and suffering they’re going through, it’s really tiring for me. And if you come to a point where you’re weak and you can’t do anything for yourself, knowing that your caregiver can be there with you is a blessing; because everyone knows that when they feel bad they always look for mommy or daddy or somebody to look out for them, but for you to actually have a caregiver in your stages of adulthood when you cannot do for yourself, it’s a blessing.

“I thank God for all those who donate to the Cancer Society, including CIBC FirstCaribbean through their annual ‘Walk for the Cure.’”

Ferguson said, “The Cancer Society is a vital part of the Bahamian community. Because we have people coming from islands of The Bahamas in mass numbers – people battling cancer just like me. But in the midst of it all I try my best to keep my faith in God, because without my Father, I think I would’ve already been dead.

“I can’t say enough for people to understand why the Cancer Society is needed. Many more people would’ve lost their fight if not for this place, but God has it fixed where people can come and get some help, and that is of great importance.”

All proceeds from the “Walk for the Cure” are donated to cancer awareness and treatment organizations throughout the country. To register for this year’s walk contact Nikia Christie at Nikia.christie@cibcfcib.com.

 

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