Published: | Canada

Northern Province Palliative Care Initiative: Make Every Day Count

"You matter because you are you, and you matter to the last moment of your life.” – Dame Cicely Saunders, Founder of the Modern Hospice Movement.

Written By Raksha Shriraam

Palliative care can be as simple as a bright smile ripe for the giving, but little do you know how it makes a day worth living. What does palliative care mean to you? Palliative care is the active total care of patients with advanced progressive diseases.  Palliative care is valuing life from the moment it begins till the moment it ends. It is not treating the disease; rather it is treating the patient who has the disease. To me, palliative care means improving the journey rather than changing the outcome.

In the context of modern day society, the significance of palliative care is overlooked. Palliative care is aimed at providing physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and interpersonal support.  Muhammad Ali, famous boxer, once profoundly stated “Don’t count the days. Make the days count”. Simply put, palliative care is making every patient’s days count because they deserve the right to preserve their dignity no matter where they live. Care of the patient doesn’t stop when the active treatment stops.  Care continues until the patient’s very last breath.

Imagine that you’re a 75-year-old man living alone and have recently been diagnosed with advanced cancer.  You know you don’t have long to live, but you want your last days to have meaning. You want to be surrounded by loved ones, relieved of pain, and remain in the comfort of your home.

Unfortunately, palliative care services for patients in Northern Province are minimal and poorly accessible.  Detrimental consequences of the war in Sri Lanka have led to the destruction of family and social structures and departure of the younger generation.  This has left the community’s poor, ill, and elderly citizens in a vulnerable situation.

1.2 million: the current population of Northern Province, Sri Lanka

4,000: the number of patients that will require palliative care

3: the number of divisions within Jaffna District that the current mobile unit serves

7: the total number of divisions the mobile unit will be able to serve after expansion

1,000: the number of patients that will be cared for in their homes after expansion

We need your help to raise public awareness about this issue by sharing our social media announcements, and by registering for our annual Tamil Canadian Walk - an annual event held to bring together hundreds of participants in support of a great cause.  Over the last 10 years, the fundraiser has made many important initiatives possible, in Canada and in Sri Lanka, including those of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Sampur Housing Project. This year we are partnering with Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration (TWCC) and International Medical Health Organization (IMHO) Canada to support Cancer Aid North and East (CANE) in Jaffna District.

Palliative Care Association

We are also introducing a brand new concept to the annual walk called the Amazing Race! The Amazing Race is a thrilling and adventurous aspect of this year’s walk in which teams compete against each other to complete a number of challenges before crossing the finish line. Along with the satisfaction of placing first, the winning team will receive a grand prize! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to connect with your community, have fun, and support a remarkable cause. Our goal is to use the proceeds raised to implement and develop palliative care services across Northern Province Sri Lanka. By choosing to walk alongside us, you are making every day count for the thousands of palliative patients living in pain.

Please help us expand the provision of palliative care services in Northern Province, by making a donation online (http://tamilcanadianwalk.com/) or by contributing on the day of the Tamil Canadian Walk on Sunday September 9, 2018.  Tax receipts are available for all donations over $20.

Tamil Canadian Walk

All funds raised will support the expansion of the community mobile palliative care unit in Jaffna District, providing training for high quality medical care, providing essential supportive care, and improving the availability of common palliative medications. Together we can positively impact ourselves, our family, our community, our nation, and underserved communities in Sri Lanka or around the globe. Together we can shed light upon this overlooked issue and find a solution to a key challenge within the healthcare sector. Together we can transform the current palliative care model in Sri Lanka, and create a better and advanced palliative care system that reaches more patients, and provides a greater quality of care. Together we can walk towards a brighter future for palliative patients everywhere.

According to philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, to have succeeded is to have known even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

Follow #tamilcanadianwalk2018 to track our compaign.  Visit http://tamilcanadianwalk.com/ to submit a donation online. 

Help us #MakeEveryDayCount!

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