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Nov 4, 1998

News Five honors Juliet Soberanis

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Children loved her when she was dressed as Santa Claus or Mr. Neat and Klean, but Juliet Soberanis who died last Friday will be remembered by the adults in Belize as the one who led the battle cry in the war against cancer. Over the past three years, her name became synonymous with cancer awareness and it was her willingness to speak out that helped so many break their own silence. Tonight News Five pays tribute to this inspiring member of our community.

On Monday afternoon, friends and family of the late Juliet Soberanis, paid their last respects to a loving and devoted wife, mother and friend. Soberanis, who died after battling with breast cancer for a number of years, did not only fight hard to stay alive, but over the past three years she worked diligently to highlight a disease that in the past was only discussed among family members behind closed doors. Today, thanks to Soberanis, not only are cancer patients and survivors talking publicly about their experiences, but on November eleventh, 1996 ceremonies were held to officially open Belize’s first Cancer Society. On that day, Soberanis explained how she felt after seeing one of her dreams come true.

Juliet Soberanis

“It is such a great feeling of satisfaction and comfort that I know that something is about to really, really happen for our Belizean people.”

The society was just one of many projects Soberanis spearheaded. Next on the agenda was a plan to construct the country’s first cancer hospice. While Soberanis’ wish, to be alive to see the opening of the hospice, won’t be fulfilled, she was overjoyed to at least be with us on November eleventh, 1997 when ground breaking ceremonies took place.

Juliet Soberanis

“The person who gave me the will and the encouragement to fight for this hospice is a lady who is a cervical cancer survivor and her family actually drive her, drove her, get away from here, we don’t want to catch cancer. And then if we have this kind of attitude and behavior from our people, what will happen to the patients themselves? Very, very necessary.”

In spite of her own personal suffering Juliet Soberanis, somehow through all the pain, continued to give her unselfish care and love to others who were having a difficult time dealing with the disease.

Juliet Soberanis

(14 June, 1996) “God has always been a part of my life, everything that I do, I do it with his guidance. So that make it a whole lot easier for me to deal with it.”

But on August twenty seventh, when I spoke with Juliet as she made her way to cast her vote, it was obvious that the cancer she had fought so courageously against had taken its toll. Although neither of us wanted to accept it, we knew that her time was near.

Juliet Soberanis

“It took every effort that I could have scraped up to be here this afternoon because I know just how important, how one vote can make a difference.”

No doubt forty-four year old Juliet Soberanis made an impact on all who came in contact with her. Although she is no longer with us suffering, I believe this good spirited and courageous woman is watching over us, urging us to continue the work of raising cancer awareness and seeing that the hospice is finally constructed. Juliet, we will surely miss you.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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