by Susan Schenck
The Foundation for the Service of the Illness of Cancer (FASEC), the Cancer Foundation here in Cuenca, is funded and operated primarily by volunteers. Since 1983, FASEC has housed 13,546 patients who couldn’t afford to stay in the hospital while receiving cancer treatment. The average number of patients is 10, with ages primarily ranging between 45 and 55. The cost to the patient is $6 per day, which includes all room and board, medications, and treatments.
Keith Yancey, who worked as an occupational therapist in the U.S. for many years, is the energetic high-spirited trainer for Americans who wish to donate two hours or more each week. He has created numerous handouts detailing how to help care for patients (moving, transferring and bed mobility, dressing/undressing, assisting patients during meals, and more). He also insists that volunteers will not perform any activity for which they have not been trained. (In other words, don’t expect to be flushing IVs or writing on patients' charts.)
If patient care isn't your thing, there are many other ways that you can help. Assisting in the front office doing computer data input and filing or participating in the craft program are always appreciated. Donations of arts-and-crafts materials (yarn, crochet hooks, knitting needles, beads, cords, paint, paint brushes and tools, fabric, drawing paper, colored paper, wood to make games, leather, rope, craft kits, plastic grocery bags, etc.), games, clothing, knitted/crochet caps and socks, working appliances, office supplies, medications, medical supplies, and adaptive equipment (canes, walkers, bath benches, etc.) are also accepted. And of course, nothing beats the donation of good old cash. All are likely deductible on U.S. tax returns as charitable contributions.
A number of fundraising opportunities are also available. Consider purchasing your medications at the FARMASOL pharmacy on the FASEC campus. Many people have realized significant financial savings by purchasing their medications there. Next to the pharmacy, FASEC has a restaurant-tienda and a hostal. The hostal, initially designed for family members of patients, is now open to all who are interested for only $4.50 a night (single occupancy). Participate in FASEC’s recycling program by bringing your throw-away paper, magazines, and cardboard or assist by soliciting companies to bring their recyclable items to FASEC. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in community cooking classes, held at FASEC, by soliciting participants and/or teaching. In addition, every November, the International Food Festival is held at the Mal del Rio. Volunteers are needed to participate, from set-up to clean-up.
Mark your calendars now for the 17th Annual International Food Fair on Nov. 13 at Mall del Rio. Join in on the sampling of ethnic meals from all over the world. It's a spectacular event not to be missed. This is one of the main fundraisers for FASEC. FASEC needs funds to purchase supplies for the U.S. booth and is reaching out to the expat community for assistance. Over the next two weeks, donations will be accepted at California Kitchen, Carolina Bookstore, Di Bacco, Inca Bar & Lounge, and Kookaburra Cafe. Please support these businesses and show your support for this worthy cause.
FASEC is located at Avenido 10 de Agosto y Agustin Landivar, next to the SOLCA cancer hospital. Some of the buses that pass near there include 22, 24, 14, and 2.
If you would like to contribute time, items, money, or craft ideas etc., please contact Keith Yancey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Schenck, LAc, is a raw-food coach, lecturer, and author of the two-time award-winning book, The Live Food Factor, The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate
Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet, which has gained a reputation as the encyclopedia of the raw food diet, as well as Beyond Broccoli, Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn’t Work. Go to www.livefoodfactor.com and register for the free newsletter to get a copy of the first chapter of The Live Food Factor.