The Breast Cancer Foundation, Cayman Islands

Dynamic duo support Breast Cancer Foundation

Holly Wellon and Marina Payne are two women who have worked hard at supporting the Breast Cancer Foundation and deserve recognition for their selflessness, according to the Foundation’s chief administrator, Janette Fitzgerald.

Holly Mellon, right, with Danielle Cococcia-Bebarfald Holly Mellon, right, with Danielle Cococcia-Bebarfald

“Marina and Holly are the backbone of the help I need for the Breast Cancer Foundation’s main fundraising event, our annual gala; they are awesome,” she said. “These ladies work on the auction that takes place at the gala, they send out letters, call and call again until we get donations, they are truly awesome.”

Marina Payne is devoted to the Brest Cancer Foundation causev Marina Payne is devoted to the Brest Cancer Foundation cause

Marina said her involvement with the Foundation dates back six years. “I have been participating in the walks and going to the gala for a long time but started volunteering in 2011,” she said. “My sister, sister-in-law and a few close friends have all been diagnosed with breast cancer. I am happy to say they are all survivors and doing well now. Unfortunately so many people are touched by the disease, whether they have been diagnosed or know someone who has. Seeing what they went through not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well, made me want to help in any small way I could.”

Since volunteering with the BCF, Marina explained that she has been working at events, including helping with walk registrations and fundraising for the events.

“The yearly gala is such a big event for us and luckily asking local companies big and small to donate is not as hard as it sounds. The people in Cayman are so generous and quick to help,” she said.

Recovery

The BCF is so important because breast cancer affects so many people, Marina said.

“Breast cancer doesn’t care where you are from; a lot of people in Cayman are from elsewhere and do not have the family support close by. Even those who have family here sometimes need someone else to talk to, someone who can listen and give support. The wellness programme and support group is a vital part to many people’s recovery and is a place to share what you are going through with others who understand. These women are such wonderful and courageous people,” she added.

People can support the Foundation in lots of different ways, Marina said.

“Not everyone has a lot of spare time, so even if you can’t volunteer, people can support the Foundation by attending the events, donating to the gala and just wearing pink to show their support,” she confirmed. “Currently we are getting ready for the Light Up The Night beach walk. We will be again asking for donations and getting the word out to get everyone registered and have them all turn out for the walk. It is quite a site to see …all the pink balloons along the beach. Then as summer approaches we will start to get ready for another fantastic gala event in October.”

Holly said she has been involved with the Breast Cancer Foundation since it was established in 2009, because of a close family connection with the disease.

“As everyone has a cause near to their heart, my grandmother was a breast cancer survivor, fighting a very courageous battle, and I wanted to give back to this cause in her honour,” she stated.

Holly offers as much time as she can to fill any needs of the Foundation.

“The past few years have been largely focused on the fundraising side, providing assistance with preparations for the larger events such as the Breast Cancer Gala Dinner and The Light Up the Night beach walk,” she explained.

Catalyst

Holly believes the BCF is critical in Cayman because it provides funding through grants to much needed local programmes focusing on breast cancer awareness and prevention.

“Through the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and Lions Club of Tropical Gardens, funding is a catalyst to pivotal initiatives such as financial aid assistance and mammogram voucher programmes. The Foundation has also established a wellness division to guide our local breast cancer warriors and survivors through their journey, comprised of healthy lifestyle resources and education, a helpline managed by Janette, and cold caps for chemotherapy patients, to name a few,” she said. “The BCF is a large support network made up of the loveliest people – no one ever has to feel they are fighting their battle alone. I’ve seen first-hand how the BCF has impacted so many lives in a positive way, from patients to survivors and their families, at every stage of their journey.”

Holly said there are so many ways that people can get involved in the BCF. “From an online donation, to attending the walk or Gala, or even contacting the Foundation to volunteer your time to assist at an event – every little bit counts an every little bit matters,” she confirmed.

Like Marina, Holly is looking forward to the 2017 Light Up the Night Full Moon Beach Walk taking place on Mar. 11t.

“We hope to see everyone there!” she said.

Janette concluded: “I cannot stress enough how much help these ladies are to me and the Foundation. The job of fundraising combined with over 100 persons on the Wellness Programme would be totally impossible without Holly and Marina’s help. I am so very grateful they are on board.  I know they have their hearts in the Foundation and what we do.”

The Breast Cancer Foundation

  • Cayman Islands charity established in September 2009
  • Founders and directors: Kim Lund, James Bovell and John Broadbent
  • Why it was created: to provide financial support to several local charities working in the field of breast cancer education and providing aid for treatment costs. Some of these benefiting charities include the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens. These organisations work diligently in the awareness, prevention and the treatment of breast cancer
  • Main fundraising event: the annual Breast Cancer Gala Dinner which was first established in October 2008 and which has attracted big international stars such as Cynthia Nixon, Joan Lunden and Hoda Kotb to come and speak at the event
  • Programmes supported by the BCF include:
    • Cayman Islands Cancer Society – Financial Aid Programme
    • Cayman Islands Cancer Society – Mammogram voucher Programme
    • Cayman Islands Cancer Society – Prosthetic Bras Programme
    • Lions Club of Tropical Gardens – Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    • The Breast Cancer Foundation sponsors the Brenda Tibbetts Lund Walk/Run
    • The Foundation runs a Wellness Initiative, offers patient assistance, runs a 24 hour patient helpline and holds a regular support, among many other initiatives

Source: Cayman Reporter