And then there were three…meet Duncan, another one of our members in the growing global Family of ECCT. Duncan is a 24-year old living in Harare, Zimbabwe and studying for a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Psychology. Duncan is also participating in walking for the ECCT patients and their families on 14 October 2012 – the same day as Lorraine in Canada and those in the Melbourne Marathon. He will be asking people in the community to sponsor him with supermarket food vouchers which can then be given to the patients and their families.
When asked why he is walking for the cancer patients, this inspiring young man had this to say: “a core component in recommendations which address health disparities, is the involvement of the whole community. Cancer constitutes one of the most serious threats to human life in our era. It also represents one of the greatest problems for socio-economic development of our country. Given this background, there is the need to help those who are directly and indirectly affected. Internationally, a global shortage of medical workers has increased the call for the whole community to get together. I am participating in the walk because I believe in numbers:’ if spider webs unite they can tie up a lion’. It is my responsibility too to contribute to the well being of my society. If not us who? If not now- when?”
Duncan is particularly moved by the challenges that marginalized cancer patients in Zimbabwe face: “firstly, they face financial impacts due to: failing to go to work; failure to pay the cost involved in travelling to and from medical appointments and the inability to do the usual activities which put food on their family’s table. Other challenges are social and emotional, such as the time spent at home during a patient’s recovery by the care givers, disruptions of companionship, emotional support and conversations. The social impact of cancer is reduced by a healthy and supportive social support, financial security and stability at work.”
Duncan raises a solid point in his observations of the psychological strain on families in Zimbabwe because of cancer. “When family members confront this serious illness, they can also experience as much distress as, if not more distress than, the patient with cancer. This distress arises from the caregiver’s role itself as well as witnessing the patient’s suffering. This can lead to tensions in the family, particularly in the extended African family. And the result is self blame by the cancer patient, which can lead to stress.”
He is yet another valued addition to the team. Duncan…we thank you.
**Keep your eyes posted on our blog as we bring you updates on more members of the Family of ECCT getting active and joining us from across the globe to support marginalized cancer patients in Zimbabwe.