The New Year is a time to reflect on a year gone by and make plans and preparations for the upcoming year. One of the greatest blessings of humanity is the ability to recreate our lives, overcome and learn from adversity. Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow took the nation of Belize through a tsunami of emotions as she battled one of the toughest fight of her life. She brought cancer awareness to the forefront while excelling at her duties as Special Envoy for women and children. Please read her message below as she shares her fight, struggles, fears and successes.
A YEAR I WILL NEVER FORGET… by: Kim Simplis Barrow
2012 is coming to an end and for many reasons it is a year I truly don’t mind putting behind me. As I sit here reflecting on the year that was, there is no denying that 2012 was a challenging one for me as I spent a great deal of it fighting for my life. I battled cancer the best way I could and just when it seemed that the victory could well be in sight, there was another major struggle to overcome. When I suffered heart failure at the end of May, I couldn’t help but ask, “what the hell is going on?” I really needed answers. Answers I really didn’t get, but I continued to fight and I also continued to hope and pray and believe. It was a tough year as I completed chemotherapy treatments, radiation, and restored my heart to an acceptable beating pulse after a very grim prognosis.
Despite the many adversities I had to face, many days I smiled! I smiled at the everyday miracles I experienced. My faith in the human spirit, the goodness and beauty in everything was ever so present. I am forever grateful for all the support and constant prayers that came and continue to come my way.
Yes, during 2012 I struggled with my health but nonetheless, I can gratefully say – it was a successful year. Oh yes it was! My daily inspiration: our beautiful Belizean children! They are the ones who gave me the strength and courage to keep working on my Special Envoy projects. This year I saw the budding fruits of my labours as after many years of planning and advocacy a number of things came together. The Inspiration Telethon was a complete success and construction of the Centre has started. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Prohibition Bill and the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Bill were approved by the Cabinet and passed through both the House of Representatives and the Senate with unanimous support. They are now just a signature away from becoming law. The drafting of amendments to the Criminal Code to increase penalties for perpetrators of sexual assault has started and we’re expecting that it will be passed into law in 2013. A few weeks ago we received the good news that the Challenge Gobie Foundation reached its million dollar mark for us to start construction on the first phase of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
And those are just the big highlights. There were many other victories: the annual launch of our Inspiration calendar and agendas, a very successful Annual Spirit of Christmas Concert that entertained over 300 children, the launch of several PSAs on sexual exploitation and child safety, increased public awareness on disabilities and cancer… just to name a few.
Overall, what I have learnt this year–indeed what I have lived this year–is that you don’t have to quit in the face of adversity, no matter how great a challenge! You should never give up no matter how horrible you feel, even if you are lying in the ICU! Life is many times ‘unfair’ and rough, we face unexpected events (cancer, job loss, death) but life doesn’t have to break us. WE MAKE LIFE!!!
That is my mantra: MY LIFE IS WHAT I MAKE IT! And in 2013 I intend to make it as rich and fulfilling as it can be; no matter the adversities, no matter the naysayers. I will continue to count my blessings, continue to cherish and support my loved ones, continue to appreciate my friends, continue my work on behalf of the children of this nation. And I will continue to look for the lessons as I face, head on, whatever challenge the new year may bring. I hope you will do the same!
Happy New Year to all! In the words of Afrobella I urge you to:
Slow down. Calm down. Look back at your year. Appreciate the journey you’ve made – the peaks and the valleys, the growth and the realizations. Be thankful for who you are, what you have, and the people who love you. Look forward to the upcoming year. Make plans that make sense for you, considering what you know you are capable of. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
I wish you peace, happiness, prosperity and love in 2013 no matter, or perhaps, despite what challenges may come your way!
Young Salima Barrow was apprehensive as she witnessed her mother , Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, go thru the fight of her life. She wanted to do something to honor her mother and wanted to raise funds while raising Cancer Awareness. I spoke to 7 year old Salima tonight and she is excited to be able to contribute in some way. She said she wanted to do something “a long long long time ago, from she was 3 but her mommy would not let her”. She made me smile. I am sure in her mind, her mother must have been battling Cancer for as long as she can remember. Children have simple yet powerful ways of articulating their feelings. Salima is only 7 and time is relative for her. A year of missed events with her mom must have felt like forever. Salima knows the importance of raising funds to help with the life saving treatments for kids with Cancer. Salima is a young lady with a plan to raise “lots of money” for cancer. She also wants to meet the kids affected by cancer. When I was a child myself , I witnessed too many of my own family members afflicted, so I wholeheartedly embrace and endorse her drive. Please assist Salima, along with a few of her friends,(Haley, Abigail & Gianni) and the generous sponsorship of Bowen and Bowen, in a worthwhile fund raising event to help fund the Children’s Cancer Wing. I have pledged $100.00 and hope you can donate or support her initiative by attending the event and purchasing a few drinks. Remember, Cancer is a disease that does not discriminate. Salima’s class from Hummingbird Elementary School will also be having a similar event on November 30, 2012.
October is a month that will always have a special significance to me. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and everyone will be talking about it; cancer survivors will say thank you Jesus, families and friends of victims will say a prayer in memoriam, and the rest of the world will remain hopeful for a cure. All around the world it will be a sea of pink. Many will remember the infamous cancer and the fear that it evokes in the hearts and souls of women and men all over the world. This is the month that we most remember to offer support to families enduring this battle and organizations that are trying to find a cure for this awful disease. So we purchase items, support cancer groups, donate and attend fundraisers, give talks, walk for a day, run for miles … and yes, at the same time hoping and praying that we never have an encounter with this deadliest of foes.
Breast cancer is a sneaky, insidious devil. It hides wherever it can and when you least expect, it wreaks havoc on the life of the woman or man it has claimed as “its own”, their family and their friends. It can take over your life, ruling your health like a dictator. However, it is important to remember we have come far and today we know much more about this disease than ever before, making us better prepared to do battle. We know that our only recipe for a successful outcome is to prepare for combat – lace up your boxing gloves and fight with all you’ve got.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the presence of cancer and often such late diagnoses cause the kind of pain that lives for an eternity. Today we are more aware and educated: early detection, yearly mammograms and breast self exams are keys to winning this battle! We also know that some people manifest no physical signs—something I know all too well having lived a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising daily.
My cancer journey began on October 22nd, 2011, when I felt a lump during an official trip abroad. Upon my return home, October 28th, I went to the doctor, got a mammogram, and tissue was sent for biopsy. On November 3rd, I heard the devastating words: “you have cancer”. This disease has consumed my life for an entire year and for the next 5 years I’ll be on medications—for cancer and my heart complications. It has zapped me of my energy, my good health, and my time… but not my LIFE!
It may seem strange, but cancer has given me my greatest gift: it has reminded me of the fragility and brevity of life; that we all need to live everyday to its fullest. The thought that I was slowly dying—and yes we are all going to die one day, but just knowing that I was actually staring death in the face, makes me appreciate and enjoy every minute of every single day. This disease has taught me how to cope with fear; strengthened my faith in God; has emboldened my spirit and restored my faith in humanity. I now know that the only day that really matters is today! Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is but a dream … there is just today!
Over the past year, people saw me bare my soul and lose my hair–those of us with my kind of hair go to the hairdresser at least once a week because we are obsessed with our hair and making it look good. It was not easy and as soon as mine started falling out, I went to my hairdresser and shaved it off. I wanted to lose it completely on MY terms! I was still in control and it was going to affect me the way I wanted it to. I must say I loved being bald. With my daughter’s thumbs up and Dean’s unending support, I never wore a wig. For once I felt free! It was wonderful and comforting to see how people reacted when my most true self was showing. The real me: open, honest and bare to the bones. I saw my soul during this journey …This dreadful disease taught me to love myself and its imperfections, to appreciate me—all of me—for me.
I also know that this is not my final chapter! I will keep on fighting until I have rid my body of cancer’s existence. This is not my final nemesis. Today, I think cancer knows exactly who it’s fighting … It knows I have faith, spirit, courage, hope, and that I fight with all I have. Cancer surely picked on the wrong one!
Kim Simplis Barrow
October 1st, 2012
The First Lady of Belize will be featured in the upcoming October issue of Ms. Magazine! She is being hailed as “The Michelle Obama of Belize”. If you enlarge the picture below, you can actually read the article 🙂 Twocanview is so proud of our First Lady and extend our heartfelt congratulations!
After meeting with Willacey and the mother of child accusing Willacey of having an inappropriate sexual relationship, the Belmopan Baptist Church has placed Willacey on a 15 day suspension. Willacey will not be in school or on the pulpit. According to their policy, Willacey must be charged within these 15 days or he will be reinstated without prejudice. On the other hand, The Education and Training Act of 2010’s only child protection clause is that it is the responsibility of management…
Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber has expressed concern about the situation and made a plea to the Baptist Church to “deal with the matter swiftly” but he also cautions that there is nothing the Ministry can do “to punish” the Baptist Church should they fail to comply with this request.
Hmmmmmmmmm…..why are we acting like we have never confronted this sort of situation before? By his own admission, the Minister stated that there are many instances of this type. Why are there no safeguards in place against this kind of shit? What do you mean the Ministry can do nothing to protect our children in SCHOOL?????? All students within a secondary school system should enjoy the protective arm of the law and the Ministry of Education. What sort of message does this send to predators and victims? Why are we not charging him with rape of a minor since this relationship is over a year in duration, as already established by emails and texts? What happened to enforcing the sexual harassment laws???
I just feel like there is much hemming and hawing and wringing of hands that ultimately will lead to nothing.
Link to Channel 7 News: http://www.7newsbelize.com/printstory.php?func=print&nid=23248
Here are pictures of the finished products y’all! I asked Kimmy to custom design these as gifts for my god daughters, cousins and neices 😉 Cute right? And allllll for a good cause of Cancer Awareness. for every beanie you buy from KCB Custom Crochet, Kim Longsworth Black will donate $5 to the Belize Cancer Center Dangriga.
Don’t forget that Real Men Wear Pink! Custom design one for your man! Join our efforts to spread awareness and support our First Lady in establishing the Belize Cancer Center Dangriga. https://twocanview.com/2012/05/09/buy-a-beanie-and-support-breast-cancer-awareness-kim-for-kim/
Check out the available beanies here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.355307514529895.79321.162552987138683&type=3
A group of Belizean children is finally getting the attention and support it so desperately needs and truly deserves. They are the ones we may stare at, feel pity for but look away, they are our children with special needs. They may be deaf, blind, physically handicapped but they want to play and learn and become contributing members of society like we all do. In an effort to address their needs, The Special Envoy of Belize, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow is heading an effort to build a center where they can come to receive the support and learn skills which will help them to become independent and self sufficient. Take a look at the following video to see some of the children we would be helping:
Please be a part of this wonderful fundraising event. There are many ways you can donate:
Click this link to donate!!!!!!!!!!
For more information, check out the Special Envoy of Belize’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SEWC.Bz