Said and done. A few months ago, representatives from the Spanish Cancer Association (AECC) made an agreement with local authorities that granted the former access to new facility which would serve as a headquarters and day centre. Last week, Doctor Juan Carlos Domínguez, head of the palliative care unit at AECC and the Costa del Sol Hospital and town councillor Manuel Osorio, signed a document to formalise the transfer of the premises of the old Provincial Tax Office to AECC.
Those in charge of the association, led by Maika Pérez de Cobas, have already set to work on the space - which covers more than 600 square metres - so that it can be transformed into a day centre "as soon as possible" in order to provide support to local patients and their families.
The association, currently immersed in preparations for their annual gala dinner on 5 August, has not yet scheduled a date for the official transfer of their headquarters from Avenida Severo Ochoa, as the new premises will need to be adapted. The group has revealed to SUR that they plan to use the proceeds from the gala dinner to help fund the works, and hope to have the centre open by the end of this year.
The new space will accommodate the association's existing services (all of which are free of charge), such as awareness campaigns, voluntary work from medical professionals, psychological help, a smokers unit, a laryngectomy unit (which offers weekly voice rehabilitation sessions) and the palliative care unit, which has been open for 24 years and is nationally-recognised for its work.
Workshops and courses
In addition to the existing services, the new facility will also have room for a host of new activities, like meditation, memory, exercise and cooking workshops and a television room. "We want people to feel at home. It is a challenge because this is a public establishment, but we have a responsibility to offer the best we can," explains Pérez de Cobas.
The president of AECC has the support and collaboration of a generous group of professionals, who continue to offer help unconditionally. Carolina Rivero and Alberto Aranega, two young architects who have recently opened up a new business, Office For Co-working Architects, in Marbella, paid a visit to the facilities to give shape to the project and identify any necessary courses of action. "They need a new roof and to rewire the electrics. You can see that they've made the more urgent repairs, but no serious renovations," the pair observes.
Another challenge is making the space accessible. Acclaimed Catalan interior designer Sara Folch also visited the headquarters this week, another keen collaborator in the project.
In an effort to allow the new services to reach more people and better adapt to specific needs, AECC is considering expanding their staff and office hours. The hope is to be open 12 hours a day.
The move from the existing headquarters will mean a monthly saving of 2,000 euros in rent. This money can now be put towards better patient care.