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Cudeca celebrates 25 years of palliative care in Spain

Joan Hunt (third from left) expressed her gratitude to the local media in Malaga
Joan Hunt (third from left) expressed her gratitude to the local media in Malaga / Tony Bryant
  • Joan Hunt thanks SUR in English at anniversary launch for being the first newspaper to recognise the work of Cudeca with an award in 1993

Cudeca launched its twenty-fifth anniversary year this week with a look back at its history.

During a presentation on Wednesday, founder, Joan Hunt, reminisced about her dream and how it all came together.

The meeting was organized to thank all of the people, whether media, fundraisers or sponsors, for their help over the last twenty-five years.

Also present were medical director, Marisa Martin, director of finance, Rafael Olalla, and nursing director, Susan Hannam.

Joan Hunt explained why she had first decided to open the hospice; claiming that, "nobody could have known what was going to happen 25 years ago."

She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Marisa Martin, the person who not only helped set up Cudeca, but the woman who also cared for Joan's husband when he was ill with cancer.

Joan said that the only thing she wanted to do was to spread the word about Marisa's wonderful work, so that other people could have the benefit that she and her husband had received.

What began in a spare room in Joan's house in 1992 has turned into the only cancer hospice in Spain.

The grounds on which the hospice now stands were donated by Benalmádena town hall in 1995.

Joan laid the first stone of the hospice in 1997 and the building was finally completed in 2003.

Joan said that she was not afraid of hard work, but she could not have succeeded without the help and support of Marisa and Susan Hannam.

She also praised the work of the volunteers, fundraisers and staff.

Cudeca now has 5 home care teams who look after more than 350 patients. They have 18 shops, a warehouse and an outlet, and there are plans to build new day-care centres in other parts of Andalucía.

Nearly 170 events were organized in aid of Cudeca last year, and around 1,000 collection tins raised over 50,000 euros.

The foundation also receives more than 1,500 monthly donations from supporters. The importance of these donors was emphasised by Susan Hannam.

"Fundraising and donations are a very important part of Cudeca, and without the generosity of the public, we would simply not exist," Susan explained.

She also highlighted the importance of media coverage and thanked the media in Malaga for their continued support.

However Joan explained that her first press meeting, back in 1991, had terrified her, but she knew if she wanted to move forward with Cudeca she would have to get used to it.

"If you are not used to the press they can be very intimidating, but here I am today, brave enough to sit here and talk to you all," she said, to the amusement of her audience.

Joan thanked the local media, especially SUR in English, whom she said have supported Cudeca since they first began.

She expressed her gratitude to the newspaper for being the first to acknowledge her achievements with an award in 1993.

Looking forward to the future, Joan expressed her determination to continue supplying special care and attention to those who need it.

She finished by saying, "Ambition without action is only daydreaming, and we are definitely not daydreaming."