Cancer Society appeals for funds
Cancer patients have to live on drugs till they leave this world but drugs in Sri Lanka are so expensive that the Kandy branch of the Sri Lanka Cancer Society is finding it almost impossible to help the very needy with their drug requirements.
A drug fund was inaugurated by Mohan Samarakoon, a past president of the Society in Kandy. However, to keep it floating requires much effort and the present board of management has thought of many ways to replenish the fund.
The Kandy branch of the Sri Lanka Cancer Society had very small beginnings and the then Health Minister Mrs. Siva Obeysekera did much to help the Society by arranging to have the present Home established, according to one of its vice-presidents Dr. Samad Ismail.The Cancer Society in Kandy was inaugurated in 1971 by the parent body in Colombo. The Cancer Home in Kandy was built by the parent body in 1976 on a block of land given by the Health Ministry.
The building had two wards which could accommodate twenty persons, while there were staff quarters as well. The growing number of patients became a problem until the People's Bank gave a donation of Rs. 600,000 with which a block was constructed to accommodate ten more patients.
In 1994, the Sri Lanka-Canada Development Fund made a substantial donation, with which an auditorium and an additional block was constructed to house fifteen more beds.
Dr.Ismail said a Buddhist nun who wished to remain anonymous gave a donation to build an accommodation facility for an overnight stay for patients who finds it difficult to return home on the same day.
The Cancer Society which has around 800 members has provided a free overnight service for many patients and members of their families, according to Society president Mrs. Mirani Liyanage. A screening centre was then established, but it was closed and instead a ward for children was established followed by a terminal unit for those who had no home or any relatives who would not look into their needs, until their time to leave this world.The Society saw the need for a counselling service and with its limited resources established one where volunteers work to counsel those people whose were initially shocked when told they have the disease.
The Society has also inaugurated a foster parent scheme where an orphaned child is matched with a family. This scheme is handled by a team of counselors.
According to Dr.Ismail the crying need of the Society is to replenish the drug fund. If there is anyone who feels that he/she could help, they could contact the Society president or the secretary Marie Tennakoon on telephone no. 081-2225423.