“We can cure physical diseases with medicine but the only cure for loneliness, despair and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world, who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love” – Mother Theresa.
Udupi: A shelter for peaceful death, a home meant only for care and spreading happiness, ‘Cynthia Fernandes Palliative Care centre’ prepares cancer patients for their final journey. Situated in Santhekatte Kallianpur, the centre is managed by Missionary Sisters of the Queen of the Apostles (SRA). The centre was opened on 5 January, 2006.
Leslie Fernandes, who lives in United Kingdom, has built the centre in the memory of his wife, Cynthia Fernandes. Cynthia died of cancer and her pain and suffering during the last stage of cancer was miserable, says Sister Jaya who looks after the day-to-day management of the centre.
Leslie was moved by the pain and suffering of cancer patients whom he noticed in the hospital and at his home while Cynthia was being treated. He decided to open a centre which would provide free assistance to cancer patients who are in their last stage. Likewise, Cynthia Fernandes Palliative Care was opened in Santhekatte. Leslie funds the maintenance and day-to-day affairs of the centre. He is now 85-years-old and closely monitors the activities of the centre.
The baton of the centre is in the hands of Sr Jaya. Service comes first, says Sr Jaya speaking to Mangalorean.com. The centre has 5 inmates who are suffering with a lot of pain and are in the last stage of cancer. The center prepares them to die peacefully. The staff and SRA sisters at the centre have to clean their wounds, bathe them and keep them clean. The centre upholds communal harmony. Every patient is admitted into the centre irrespective of his/her caste, creed and religion and is treated free of cost. The Goretti hospital supplies necessary medicines to the centre. Doctors visit the patients twice a week and are also called during emergencies and to certify death.
Till date, 483 inmates have died peacefully in the centre. The centre is monitored round the clock. Medicines, food prescribed by the doctors is provided. A prayer room is utilized for offering prayers. A room is provided for the patients for the family members to live with them. Most of the family members leave them alone.
A patient needs his loved ones when he is about to die. “I can feel the pain and agony of the patients,” says Sr Jaya. “Their loved ones have no choice other than leaving them here. Both suffer, the patients and also their families. We have 5 full time staff and staff nurses from Goretti hospital also render their service.” An ambulance is also provided to the centre.
Sr Jaya has been rendering selfless service in the centre. She had to leave the centre for 2 years after she fell ill. She has been deputed again by her superiors to serve in the centre. To conclude, Sr Jaya along with the SRA fraternity is continuing a noble work.