PINK RIBBON CAMPAIGN
Since March 1st 2002, SELF-HELP GROUP of the cancer sufferers (first of such kind in the town) has been operational. The Group grew up to the Club of women suffering from breast cancer meanwhile.
Objectives of the group, i.e. the club, are:
– assisting persons who suffer from cancer or who are treated for tumors, so that they can remain equal members of the society
– raising awareness of maintaining health breasts
– raising awareness among citizens about breast cancer
– undertaking initiatives to increase the number of devices for breast examinations (mamographs and ultra-sound devices)
– advocating for change of unsatisfactory laws related to breast prosthetics, and the post-surgical treatment of persons suffering from tumors
– issuing or supporting issuance of brochures and other promotional materials for education of citizens in the medical sense, with a view to combat breast cancer
– organizing educational and promotional events: lectures, round tables, exhibitions and similar.
– cooperating with similar associations throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Most persons suffering from cancer are receiving only medical assistance, while their social and psychological needs remain unmet. Major problem is that population is largely uninformed about the consequences of this particular illness and the possibilities to live with it. Persons with health problems can meet a large part of their needs in the self-help group, which is led by our member who has a personal experience in combating cancer.
A confirmation of friendship and the feeling of belonging to the group are best seen in the following story:
Our member N.N. came to the group after a breast surgery and chemo-therapy. Radiation was supposed to be her continued treatment, performed at the Clinic in Sarajevo. Given that it is in most cases hard to find a vacant patient place at the Clinic, most of our patients have to find private accommodation, which they pay for themselves. They then have to go to the Clinic for treatment on a daily basis. Our N.N. did not have the money to fund this, as she lost her job during the war, so she could not continue with her treatment. At that time, our art-therapists came from the Netherlands and learned about this problem. Shortly after they returned to the Netherlands, they sent the money for our N.N. to continue her medical treatment. Today she is an active member of the group. In addition, group members assisted N.N. to exercise her legal right to disability-based retirement benefit, which she could have easily lost, due to rather unregulated field of benefits, where situations such as this one are not ending automatically, on the basis of a right.
Results of our work are:
• Dozen of humanitarian exhibitions were organized to raise funds by selling the works produced in our creative workshops by the patients.
• Dozen of round table discussions (all over the Tuzla Canton, i.e. 13 municipalities) on the prevention of breast cancer. Its result was the change of legislative regulation in favor of the oncological patients.
• The pink ribbon was promoted (this is an international symbol of combating breast cancer). A well-known Bosnian actor, Enis Bešlagić supported us in these promotional activities.
• We actively participated in the positive change of legislative regulation on the scope of rights of persons with health insurance to use orthopedic aids which are being provided by the Institute for Public Health and Insurance of Tuzla Canton;
• We provided over 500 new wigs for oncological patients from Tuzla Canton
• We informed the public about the change in the legislation and the possibilities to rent a wig
• We produced an educational leaflet on the examination and self-examination of breasts, a brochure how to fight sickness during chemotherapy, a brochure of healthy life style and we distributed several thousand copies
• We produced a set of promotional materials (key ring with the little pink ribbon, fliers, pamphlets, etc.)
• We received donation of breast prosthesis which we donate further to women in need
• We became members of the B&H Union of Associations of persons suffering from or treated for breast tumor
• Each April, we organize an action symbolically called “The Day of Daffodils” with a view to promote awareness of maintaining healthy breasts. On that occasion, we actively involve local VIPs. They became our supporting members.
- We got the Letter of thanks from the relevant public health institution, Dom zdravlja Tuzla
(Health Center in Tuzla) for our cooperation in supporting opening a Center for Health Breast within the Health Center in Tuzla