On a wintry afternoon two days ago, hundreds of mourners gathered at the Weston Pentecostal church in Toronto to pay their last respects to Basmattee Dharamlall, known to us all by her calling name, Desiree, who died at the age of 54 after a prolonged battle with cancer. Born and raised in West Coast Berbice, one of five children, she was a single parent who worked inside and outside the home, sometimes at more than one job, to raise her three children, Tony, Tracy and Aubrey. When I met her in September 2001, she had just arrived in Toronto through a charitable organization that had sponsored an urgent medical visit for her youngest son, then 15 years old. His procedure went well, but a few months later Desiree would be diagnosed with advanced cancer, and remained in Canada for treatment. She was active in all sorts of ways, from the Guyanese community to church groups to the walks for cancer she participated in each year. Read full article
November 24th, 2008
Note: Although this article was published back in November 2008, my recent discovery of it, and its continued relevance require posting on this blog several months later.