Ven-Rose Health Center, Inc.

27 April 2024

“The Ven-Rose Health Center Foundation, Inc. is a domestic non-profit corporation, organized under the Puerto Rico Corporation Law…” (taken from the Ven-Rose advertising leaflet)


I want to share with you about this foundation that I have come to know here in the municipality of Jayuya.

After the 11am mass on a Sunday at La Monserrate, we stood around greeting people. Chebi and I (those of us who were there at the time) were in that first stage of getting to know the parishioners. By chance, Mrs. Malén (Magdalena) happened to be next to us and we started talking. I don’t know why, the topic of cancer came up. She was the first local person I met who had had breast cancer. I got really excited. I could talk to her about the reality that we had both overcome. What a thrill!

In that sharing, my concern to bring together people with cancer came up. In the visits we were making, we realised that in almost every home there is or has been a person diagnosed with cancer. I felt that I had to do something about this reality. Malén told me that she would put me in touch with the founder of Ven-Rose. Weeks later, this meeting took place.

This was the result of that first visit:

Mrs. Pía (María de los A. Ortiz), when she was young, had breast cancer and was given months to live. She said to the Lord that, if she was healed, she wanted to dedicate her energy in finding a place nearby so that the people of Jayuya and others nearby could go. She is treated and she repeats it 3 more times. Finally, she is healed.

She began her search for a place for this foundation and the money to support it. Several years passed. During this time of searching, the primary schools in the neighbourhood was closed. There were no more children for the school and they decided to close it. The building was left empty and without purpose. It was mentioned to her and she began the process of acquiring it. It seems that there was someone else interested in the property and she did not have the money to put down a deposit.

Finally, on the day when the possibility of her acquiring it was already closed, she managed to raise the necessary money and put down a deposit. A friend, a benefactor of hers, helped her with this procedure.

The preparation and clean-up of the entire property and building began. A group of volunteers joined the cause and managed to clean up the accumulation of rubbish and to prepare the green space. Once in condition, with offices for the management, consultation spaces, they began to attend to some people. Some doctors offered consultations via Teledoc.

At the same time, the acquisition process. She had to wait 90 days to make sure there was no one else. At the end of the 90 days, with no one else, the school is hers.

“The main purpose and mission of the Foundation is to help people who have been diagnosed with cancer and kidney problems, both for residents of the Municipality of Jayuya and its surrounding towns, (such as Adjuntas, Utuado, Orocovis and Lares) who are forced to receive their respective chemotherapy or dialysis treatments, as the case may be, mainly in San Juan, Ponce or other locations outside our geographical area”. (Ven-Rose advertising leaflet)

Jayuya is in the mountains in the centre of the island. Everything is far away. They have to go down to these other municipalities and the road is practically in curves. You can imagine an hour and a half on a curvy road, receiving chemo or dialysis and returning the same day through the same curves to get home and rest. Very difficult.

This building they got is close to the centre of the municipality. These other municipalities are also high up in the mountains and would benefit from not having to travel those hours of curvy roads.

The equipment for chemo and dialysis is rented. That’s how it works here. They already have the equipment. The chemo part of the building will be ready for the inauguration on 4 May. After that they will continue with the dialysis areas. Their main concern is that of the dialysis patients who have to travel three times a week to these other places. 

They have several volunteer doctors who see patients, even now when it is not yet fully open. They have a psychologist and other doctors.

We have volunteered. Pía wants us to be part of the support team. To be able to listen to people who need to talk about their process, their illness, their difficulties. For now, we will be helping on Thursdays. Later, depending on the needs, we will dedicate other days and hours.

Me, at least, I felt this as a call from the Lord. My experience with cancer can be of help to those who are going through this experience. Chebi will go and offer her ear, her hug and kiss to all those who need it. Sandra, after I talk to the psychologist and she sees that she is ready for it, will help with this part. 

Since we have been here, we have gone twice to help with the cleaning of the halls.

As an interesting fact, Jayuya is the municipality with the second highest number of cancer patients. Almost all the families we have visited have had or have a family member with cancer. The amount of cancer is shocking. And there are all types of cancer. 

Well people, here I entrust you with this new mission. Cancer is a reality in this time in which we live. Today for you and tomorrow for me.

Yoly, rmi

During these days, the text “María Antonia París, friend and companion in the journey” is being distributed.