The Belize Cancer Society was formed in 1996 through the efforts of a brave Cancer educator and activist Juliet Orosco Soberanis. The mission of the Society is to establish, promote and further the awareness and treatment of all types of cancer in Belize, and to provide support to those affected and their families.
The founding members were: Juliet Orosco Soberanis(President) , Nina Reneau (Vice-President), Veronica Gonzalez (Treasurer), Higinia Leslie (Secretary), Anthony Soberanis, Kimberley Soberanis Ellis, Araceli Moguel RN., Loretta Haylock RN, Mariega Magga M.D., Karen Skeen-Vellos.
The Belize Cancer Society functions within the parameters of Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association of Company’s Act, Chapter 206 of the Laws of Belize.
Under the stewardship of key persons including Mrs. Higinia Leslie and Mrs. Cathy Esquivel, land was acquired and the Juliet Soberanis Cancer Center was constructed and is the headquarters for the Belize Cancer Society.
The Belize Cancer Society works with a Board of Directors elected at the Annual General Meeting.
The Society is largely supported through the valiant efforts of volunteers and the support of public and private sectors, all of whom are sensitive to the impact of cancer on individuals, families and the community.
The activities of the Society are chiefly directed at Education for general public, Education for health professionals, Prevention, Emotional and Technical support for cancer survivors and their families, Hospice support for the terminally ill, Research, and establishing a Cancer Registry. Over the years of its existence, the Society has been able to make considerable progress towards meeting several of its objectives and establishing several noteworthy activities. These include awareness and education, international networking, cervical cancer research and establishing a program of emotional and technical support.
Public Awareness & Education:
Annually a Cancer Walk from Ladyville to Belize City is held which serves to highlight issues associated with cancer prevention and control. This activity facilitates recruitment of members/volunteers, fundraise for the Society, while energizing and activating the private sector, public sector and communities to respond to the call for action as it relates to cancer awareness.
Other education and awareness activities utilize the knowledge and skills of our volunteers to hold workshops, presentations and seminars across the country. These education activities are geared at survivors and their families, health practitioners, and the community.
International Outreach and Linkages:
The Society has participated in several international conferences and workshops, increasing its knowledge on the illness, while strengthening partnerships with valued partners that can offer services to the Society and its stakeholders it seeks to serve. The ultimate goal in this area is to establish linkages with international clinics that can offer care for Belizeans who can little afford the treatment, while fielding specialists who can visit Belize and offer their expertise locally. Through international and local linkages, a PAP smear campaign and research was successfully implemented, producing evidence on the particular genotype of HPV virus that are affecting women in Belize.
Program of Emotional & Technical Support:
The Society facilitates support groups for cancer survivors and families, helping people to adjust to life changing effects of cancer. This emotional support includes home visits, and information on available services in Belize and abroad. The Society’s long term goal is to establish a clinic where local and visiting specialists can offer consultation, chemotherapy, and other oncology services to survivors. An additional goal is to establish a hospice for the terminally ill allowing patients to spend their last days in comfort and dignity.