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Fundação Danny calls for greater dignity for medical evacuees in Portugal 03 Junho 2007

The Fundação Danny (Danny Foundation, in Portuguese), a not-for-profit organization, hopes to assure better living conditions for Cape Verdean medical patients who have been evacuated to Portugal for treatment. The Foundation’s intent is, if possible, to finance a home where the evacuees can enjoy a certain degree of comfort and dignity. For this to occur, however, the Foundation needs more sponsors.

The appeal was launched on the Internet by project mentor Grace Beatriz, a Cape Verdean living in the Netherlands and who is carrying out a veritable crusade to help Cape Verdean patients being treated in Portugal.

According to Beatriz, the Fundação Danny is being supported mainly by Frederico Sanches, an intern at a Portuguese hospital’s oncology services, and by a Cape Verdean woman living in Portugal who is a co-founder of the Support Fund for Cape Verdeans in Portugal (FASCP). “Our Foundation needs donations. Any help will be welcome, for our intention is to increase the two euros a day provided to patients by the Cape Verdean embassy and provide them with moments of leisure and conviviality,” reads a letter bring circulated by Grace Beatriz.

The Foundation, according to Beatriz, was formed following the death of Danny, a young man suffering from leukemia and who had been evacuated to Portugal for treatment. “First I felt the need to write and publish a book about the life, suffering and death of this young man from whom poverty was not able to remove his dream of being an economist, but whom a serious illness mercilessly denied the right to fight for the fulfillment of those dreams. Perhaps this was a way of reducing my frustration, which did not diminish my obligation and civic duty as a Cape Verdean to fight and contribute toward minimizing the suffering of those evacuated abroad for medical treatment.”

Indeed, days Beatriz, it was knowing Danny that created the desire to create a foundation to help Cape Verdean patients evacuated to Portugal. During the year in which she accompanied Danny to the Lisbon Oncology Institute, she recalls, she saw a great deal of loneliness, suffering and anguish on the part of patients. “Last year I found out there are some 300 Cape Verdean patients in Portugal. Most have cancer or require dialysis, and live in precarious and rather undignified conditions.”

In October 2006, Beatriz went to visit the 25 de Abril boarding house, where more than 40 Cape Verdean patients live. All of them receive a pension from the Cape Verdean government to pay for their rooms, plus 60 euros a month for food, clothing, transportation and personal hygiene products. “It’s not hard to imagine how insufficient this amount is. But Cape Verdeans, perhaps because they are the products of sacrifice and resignation themselves, rarely complain of their lack of money, of the physical pain caused by the illness and other problems that undeniably occur. What they do complain about is loneliness, their nostalgia for their families in Cape Verde, and some, perhaps sensing the end is near, about the despair of dying far from those they love most,” laments Grace Beatriz, who believes that even with relatively little it is possible to help victims of serious illnesses to enjoy better installations, more comfort and conditions that can allow them to continue to dream.

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