December 6, 2021

Cayman Islands Cancer Society says “No Thanks” to local playwright with cancer

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Apostle 13 revGeorgina Wilcox

Local award winning playwright, Colin Wilson, has been fighting prostate cancer for some time and having major issues with blockages, etc. After a number of emergency trips to the hospital he bit the bullet and last January had surgery for part removal of his prostate.

After the surgery Wilson felt excellent and for the first time for many years was after a few weeks of recovery off all medication. He felt “great”.

“I felt young again,” he said, “and there was a spring in my step and I thanked God and wished I had had the surgery a long time ago. I hated the catheter and it was a continuous occurrence but I was very scared of the surgery that I assumed would have a very long recovery time. The surgeon, who was excellent, at the George Town hospital, did not remove all the prostate so I did not have to have a catheter and that was a huge relief.”

All was well until he went back to the hospital after 4 weeks. His surgeon was away and he met with another doctor who looked through his records on the computer and commented all looked good. Then he said, “Wow. Wow. Wow.”

When a doctor is looking at your results of a laboratory test and says that you know something is wrong. Very wrong.

The test showed Wilson had a cancer result of 7 on the Gleason scale (10 is the top) and his PSA (that had been 14 – 3 and above means there could be cancer) was now at a staggering 111!

He was strongly advised to have injections immediately every month that would not cure the cancer but could keep it at bay for a maximum of 5 years but there was no guarantee. Wilson declined the treatment.

After a very tearful scene in the garden at his home when he told his wife, Joan, he came to terms with what had happened and asked God to help. He put himself completely in the healing hands of God and asked his church’s congregation to pray for him.

Wilson even told them that he had booked the church hall for his wake in the year 2020 on Feb. 29 (leap year) and he would be present too as he wanted “to hear all the nice things they would say about him”. At the second wake they could say what they really thought of him, as he would not be there for that.

Wilson has had a huge complaint with the way the CICS has conducted themselves along with the Cayman Islands government in the mandatory cancer register. He has written a number of editorials on his website media house asking the question “why haven’t Cayman Islands cancer sufferers been asked for their opinion first before asking for the whole of the public’s input?”

The Cayman Cancer Society dodged directly his question telling him it was for our own good and listing a number of illnesses here where it is compulsory to be on a registry. Every one of these other illnesses were communicable diseases. This is where the disease can be spread from one person to another or from an animal to a person. The spread often happens via airborne viruses or bacteria, but also through blood or other bodily fluid. You cannot catch cancer from either a human or animal or bird, or fish.

By making a cancer registry compulsory you are automatically giving it a stigma that it does not deserve. The idea of it makes you feel you are unclean and it goes against your human rights.

Wilson said he has spoken with a number of cancer patients, even ones on the wall of the George Town hospital and they all agreed with him.

“It would have been easy for the Cancer Society to have instructed our doctor to ask for our opinion. A quick tick on a form (YES or NO) and a space for any comment would have sufficed.” Wilson said.

They are not only asking for our name on this registry but our race, colour, where we come from, where we live, where we work, our parents, etc.

“Of course the Cancer Society and Government both say it will be confidential. For heaven’s sake it is going on a computer!” Wilson angrily retorted. He wondered if they hadn’t heard how even the highest classified computers at the Pentagon have been hacked? “There is no such thing as 100% confidentiality now once it is on a computer. Every government agency in the world is trying to find out all your confidential information. Rubbish,” he added.

Wilson has had two playwriting projects in mind. To write a play about the life of Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ ascension and another on St. Matthias, who became an apostle after Judas Iscariot’s death by suicide. As Wilson felt he was running out of time he decided to amalgamate the two plays into one.

“According to the Bible.” Wilson said, “They must have met as there were a number of times it mentions Mary Magdalene being present with ALL the apostles after the ascension.”

“Both Mary Magdalene and Matthias have been given a bad wrap from not only secular scholars and others, but even some Popes,” Wilson said giving his reasons for writing about these Biblical figures. “Mary Magdalene was NOT a prostitute but she has been tarnished with this image and the musical ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’ added to this belief. Because there is only one reference to Matthias in the Bible and Jesus did not appoint him personally (disciples cast lots) he was said not to be a true apostle and he was replaced by Paul. Nowhere does the Bible say this. I was now on a mission to write my play and put a different image that I strongly believe is far nearer to the truth than the popular myths.”

The work has been completed and is currently in rehearsals for an October presentation. The play is called “13th Apostle and the Disciple of Demons”.

Because of his cancer Wilson asked the Cayman Drama Society (CDS) if they would be kind enough to allow him to present one performance at The Prospect Playhouse and donate all the monies collected to The Cayman Islands Cancer Society. The CDS quickly agreed. Wilson is a past president of the Society and appeared and directed many productions there including his own scripts. He wrote to the Cancer Society advising them of his proposal and putting aside his misgivings about the organization.

In the meantime Wilson’s wife, Joan, contracted skin cancer of the worse kind and just above her lip. It was the dreaded melanoma. Joan was lucky but only just. She was rushed into the George Town hospital for treatment and had it removed. The surgeon said another 2 weeks without removal and there would have been very serious consequences.

At first The Cancer Society were receptive and Wilson had a very frank conversation with Jennifer Weber the Operations Manager. He told them about his problem with them regarding the Compulsory Registry but it would not stop him supporting them.
Then he was asked what the play was about. Then silence. Finally this came back from Weber:

“I have spoken at length with my directors about your kind offer to provide CICS with the proceeds from your upcoming Cayman Drama Society show, and there was a lot of discussion about it, and in the end they all came to a unanimous decision. Although they all certainly appreciate you thinking of us and the people the Cancer Society exists to serve, they don’t feel a production with religious references is a good fit for the Cancer Society. As the Society, typically we are not aligned with religious or political issues as a matter of neutrality for a variety of reasons. I hope you understand.”

“Not a good fit?!” “Religious issues?!” Wilson was beside himself.

“They already associate themselves with religion by calling themselves ‘Cayman Islands’. The Cayman Islands motto is ‘He hath founded it upon the seas’. It comes from Psalm24.1”, Wilson said with much astonishment.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) even has a Pastoral Care Department and are actively seeking churches on the Cayman Islands to start a Cancer Missionary. Wilson has already attended a one-day course of instruction with them and is going to devote the rest of his time he has left to being a leader in this field. He knows now he will not be getting any help from the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. What hit him hard was the decision was “unanimous”.

“Let them continue with their ‘Conquering Cancer IV Symposium’, ‘Walk for the Cure’ and ‘Kiting for Cancer’”, Wilson’s final points. “I am a cancer sufferer and so is my wife. We know the mental strain it has on us. The worry and the Sword of Damocles’ hanging over our head. ‘Apostle 13 and the Disciple of Demons’ will now be dedicated to the work of the Pastoral Care Department of CTCA. Although all my plays are handled by New Theatre Publications this one will be Royalty Free with one proviso – ‘The proceeds of at least one performance must be given to the CTCA”. It has made the play even more international. As one of my colleagues told me when I told her of the Cancer Society’s decision ‘Their Loss’.

He has written to them about the play and is awaiting their decision.

Wilson said if he and Joan did not have strong religious convictions neither of them would be coping well with the stress. Joan has to have three monthly check ups for the rest of her life.

Statistics have proved that persons who have religion in their lives cope better with cancer and recover more quickly than those without.

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society does not see it that way. They just add to the stress and they are unanimous in that.

The one thing we have learned from all of this is, if a stage-play, a film, or a book even mentions religion or is about religious figures, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society unanimously will not be associated with it nor wants to benefit from it.

They also want a compulsory register and don’t wish to know what cancer sufferers think about that. They know best and they are unanimous in that, too.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Cayman Islands Cancer Society was NOT asked to sponsor the play. I told them I was presenting the play at the Prospect Playhouse and wanted them to be aware I was promoting the event as: “All Proceeds will go to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society”. It would help if I could have used their logo but that was not essential.

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Comments

  1. It is difficult to understand why Cayman Islands Cancer Society would refuse donations from anyone, provided the funds are not from criminal sources. Persons attending this performance may or may not have any religious convictions – they may simply wish to see the play. Why, then refuse to accept the proceeds from the performance? Would cancer patients agree with this decision?

    It is surprising that all of the members of the Board of Directors appear to agree that Cayman Islands Cancer Society should not accept these donations. The Web Site of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society lists the following as its Directors:

    Scott Elliott – Re/Max sales agent

    Dr. Sook Lee Yin Eccles – Medical practitioner

    Betty Ann Duty – Intertrust Group

    Donovan Brummer – Kirk Office

    Hope Stephenson – Formerly receptionist Government Administration Building

    Linda DaCosta – Attorney at Conyers Dill and Pearman

    Dr. James Akinwunmi – Dedicated his practice to cancers of the brain and spine

    Brett Hill – President & CEO, Fidelity Bank (Cayman) Limited

    Sabrina Foster – Attorney at Intertrust Group

    Tim Rossiter – Director at Harmonic Fund Services

    The reference in the article to the link to the Web Site of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America is most enlightening. I urge you to read it.

    http://www.cancercenter.com/faith/embracing-faith

    Obviously the Cancer Treatment Centers of America has a very different view from that of Cayman Islands Cancer Society.

    • Leroy B. Whorms sr. says

      I am just wondering if some very Religous people I know who were with the Cancer Society when my wife was dying of Cancer is still there. I find it hard to believe that it is now run by a bunch of aethist.

      • I couldn’t agree more. The money and performance will now go to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Association of the Cayman Islands (ADACI)who welcomed it with grateful thanks.

        Colin Wilson

  2. First of all I am a firm believer in the power of Prayer! My wife was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer in 2005 and without my faith I would not have been able to cope with the issue as well as I did. We have supported the Cancer Society at every opportunity since she was diagnosed. I am not understanding the decision by this group of people nor do I understand WHY there is not a Cancer Registry. The number of persons here in Cayman that I have come to know with this disease is staggering at best. Does the Society and Government think they are hiding this fact. They both must be in a state of denial. While it is not a Communicable Disease it is something very prevalent in this island and once they accept this fact and only then will the proper resources be put in place to help those that live and devote their life to this place we call home.

    I for one will no longer support the CICS as an organization but will however possible support those suffering with Cancer. I am not one to speak softly as some will attest.

    • Thank you Jim. I am not against a cancer registry. I am against the fact that none of us WITH cancer were contacted first to get our opinion. Our’s didn’t count. It didn’t matter to them.

  3. I think Government has a stipulation that organisations accepting donations cannot be linked to religious, political or such organisations. I recall wanting to donate to the Red Cross and was told the same thing so I don’t think its a decision that the CICS made on its own but maybe by looking at its licence that allows them to be non profit.

    I do agree with a registry but I also agree that by making it compulsory for those who do not want to be named to secure their privacy and not have to deal with well meaning friends who call or pop in to say hi, that it takes away your right to that privacy and disrespects one’s thoughts on the matter. I will keep all cancer patients in my prayers!

    • Even if that is true I am not a religious organisation. I am a persons with cancer who is a playwright and wanted to donate the proceeds of a performance of one of my plays to the Cancer Society. The play is about the lives of two Biblical figures, Matthias and Mary Magdalene who are the most maligned New Testament figures. I have tried to put the stigma attached to both of them right with a explanation as to why it happened.

      Colin Wilson

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