Every day, as Barbadians, each of us gives a little of ourselves in the aid of a brother or sister. After all, it is, without doubt, a part of our DNA — an integral component of the caring spirit that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Amid all of our giving, our caring, our sharing, however, there is that small group of Barbadians whose demonstration of their love for others goes way beyond what any reasonable soul would expect. They give, and give and give, never with even a hint of consideration of the extent to which they are sacrificing themselves.
Without a doubt, Dr Dorothy Cooke-Johnson fits squarely into that group, and her passing today will leave a massive void in the national voluntary effort to educate Barbadians on how to avoid cancer, to assist them with treatment and care when they come face-to-face with that awesome reality, as well as with the counselling that has helped to keep many a Barbadian family intact when cancer seemed intent on doing otherwise.
In countless homes across this land, Dr Cooke-Johnson, the longstanding chair of the Barbados Cancer Society and voice and face of the organisation for decades, was a true Barbadian hero. She brought hope when for many all was lost.
Today, while we face the growing scourge of Chronic Non-communicable Diseases, the work of Dr Cooke-Johnson and her small band of lieutenants and foot soldiers has become absolutely critical. We have a duty now to honour her work, her legacy and her name, by giving fresh life to the fight that was so much a part of her very being.
On behalf of the Government and people of Barbados, including that large group of very grateful Barbadians whose lives were touched by her kind heart and spirit of generosity, I extend heartfelt sympathy to her son, Chris Cooke-Johnson and the family of the Barbados Cancer Society.
May her soul rest in peace.