'Cudeca is based on the community and people have been very supportive this year'

Vice President Susan Hannam hoping for a brighter future.
Vice President Susan Hannam hoping for a brighter future. / SUR
  • Cudeca hopes that its Sunflower Effect campaign will raise 185,000 by January, but there is still a long way to go to hit the target

The Cudeca Foundation is appealing to the public to support its latest online campaign to raise the 185,000 euros needed to finance a home-care team.

Under the banner of Join the Sunflower Effect, the cancer charity is hoping to raise the funds by 6 January to enable it to continue offering help to patients in the final stages of their lives. Comprising a doctor, nurse, psychologist and social worker, who are specialists in palliative care, the home-care teams look after an average of 250 patients a year in their homes. In the past five years, the number of patients needing palliative care in the province has doubled, and there has been a considerable increase this year.

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on most charity organisations and, since March, Cudeca has seen a major decline in income due to the forced closure of its charity shops and the cancellation of all fundraising events.

SUR in English speaks to Vice President Susan Hannam about the problems faced by the charity and its plans to overcome the situation.

How has Cudeca coped throughout the pandemic?

The main problem has been the income. We have been very badly hit because we had to close all our shops for two months. Another problem was storing all the items people donated during the lockdown. We had to rent another warehouse to store it all in.

How much has the charity lost in revenue because of this?

Well, we have 23 shops and outlets and these usually generate around 30 per cent of our income. These retail outlets are our lifeline, so the effect has been devastating. We were hoping to raise around four million euros this year, but this has obviously not happened.

What have been the main hurdles this year?

One of the problems is that the volunteers who help in the inpatient unit can't come in, so this has meant a lot more work for the medical staff. The teams are absolutely stretched to the limit.

What is the situation with volunteers at present? why have the numbers dropped so drastically?

Many of our volunteers are senior citizens so they are in the group most at risk, and this has been a major problem. However, when we reopened the shops, we put out an appeal for younger people and the response was amazing.

Have the public been supportive during the crisis?

Yes, the public have been fantastic. Cudeca is based on the community, and people have been very supportive throughout the pandemic. The community has been behind us from day one and we have been getting some very nice donations, so it's been fantastic under the circumstances.

Have you seen an increase in patients this year?

Yes, a large increase. Up until November, there was more than 1,600 patients receiving assistance.

What is the Sunflower Effect initiative?

It is a crowdfunding campaign to raise 185,000 euros to support one home-care team for a year. We have six teams, so this amounts to a lot of money.

What is the role of the home-care team?

To provide the medical care and psychological and social support for the patients and their families. They cover a large area along the coast; and inland, in places like Antequera, the Axarquía and Ronda.

How is the campaign going so far?

We have raised around 65,000 euros so far, but there is still a long way to go to hit our target. We only have a few weeks left now, so we need get more people involved. If we do not meet the target, other areas of our work will suffer, like the inpatients [unit], which is very expensive to finance.

How can people donate to the Sunflower Effect fund?

The main collaborators in the initiative are Fundación La Caixa and Caixabank, who have donated 30,000 euros to the cause. They have made it possible for people to donate via Caixabank cash machines or in person at its branches.

Are you optimistic about the future?

We are looking at the possibility of having losses. As an official foundation we have to have a cushion, but we do not want to use that, because then we could disappear. However, we are hoping that things will return to some normality soon, but we can only wait and see what happens. This has been the worst year in our history, but we will not give up.