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Dr Lovina Noronha - Soothing Ruffled Lives at Twilight Days
by Florine Roche - Mangalore

Sep 3, 2008

In today’s fast-paced world family ties and relationships are often taken for granted. With nuclear families becoming a norm rather than an exception there is certainly a growing apprehension about the tendency to neglect the parents, the old and the sick.  But all hope is not lost yet. It is heartening to find people who are driven by the urge to show concern for fellow humans by dedicating their lives.

 

For Dr Lovina Noronha, serving the terminally ill people has become a mission and passion of life.  If everything goes right her fruit of labour will see the light of the day on the day of the nativity feast on September 8, 2008.

The construction of her dream project Ave Maria Centre for Palliative Care (AMCPC), the 15-bed residential hospice unit, is on the verge of completion and will be operational this month though formal inauguration of the unit is scheduled for December this year. 
 
HOLISTIC COMFORTS 

AMCPC is a unit of Centre for Development, Studies and Education Trust and is located in the calm, quiet and home-like environs of Vamanjoor, an ideal abode to provide succor to those suffering from incurable and life threatening diseases like last stage of cancer, dementia,  Parkinson, Alzheimer, renal failure, leukemia, multiple sclerosis etc.  “Death with dignity is our mail objective.  Hospices do not expedite or prolong death.  Rather it helps people to have a dignified end stage of life.  We spiritually prepare people for their inner journey.  AMCPC is a team approach to holistic care where we respond to people’s   biological, psychological, social and spiritual needs”, maintains Dr Lovina, the brain behind this project. 

Sacrificing a lucrative career in the land of dreams i. e America where she was the Associate Professor of MSW at Our Lady of Lake University, San Antonio in Texas, Lovina responded to her inner voice and decided to come back to her motherland which she did in 2006.  Since then she has been working tirelessly to realize her long cherished dream of providing freedom from pain through her Centre for Palliative Care. 

Social service was her dream from an early age after her MSW from Roshani Nilaya in 1988, she went to NIHMANS, Bangalore to do her M Phil in Psychiatric Social Work.  She worked for Prajna Counselling and Chethana Counselling centres in Mangalore for few years before heading to USA on a scholarship to University of Illoinois at Urbaba Champaign from where she obtained her Ph.D.  

RESPONDING TO CALL WITHIN 

She worked as an Associate Professor at San Antonio and was made Director of MSW Programme and during weekends she lent her valuable services to VITAS Innovative Hospice Centre providing on call assistance to dying patients.  Still she felt she wasn’t doing anything worthwhile and during a pilgrimate to Fatima in Portugal and Lourdes in 2006 she realized she needs to do something concrete back in India rather than being content with teaching in America.  The exposure in VITAS had shaped her thoughts and she was resolute to return to India to establish an end-of-life care.  The inner urge was so strong that soon after returning from the pilgrimate she resigned from her lucrative career in USA, sold her house and was back in India.  What added urgency to her return to India was her father’s ill-health.  Her father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and being a professional and being the eldest child she felt her services were needed more in India.  

AMCPC is her child and being single she has been able to give undivided attention to see her dream project become a reality.  “Apart from preparing people spiritually the centre also caters to solving other issues of patients like reconciling with family and other unfinished tasks. But helping them overcome death anxiety tops the priority list as it is the most painful period to the patient and the family. It also counsels the family members to cope with the situation and accept the final reality”, Lovina explains. 

SERVICE TO ALL

The 15 room bed hospice unit will provide service free of cost and is open to all irrespective of the religious faiths.  Of the 15 rooms 8 are single to provide the much needed privacy to the patients at end stage so that it does not affects the spirit of other terminally ill patients.  “Apart from the pain and other physical discomforts, the patient and the family find it difficult to cope with the psychological, social and spiritual aspects of care-giving.  Hospice aims to provide holistic comforts to the patient and the family”, asserts Lovina.  The hospice unit will have rooms, a laundry unit, kitchen, and other units required to maintain 24-hour care.   


In her efforts to provide a helping hand to the sick and the old Lovina has been getting valuable support from Karunashraya, a Bangalore-based NGO, engaged in similar task.  It has taken the responsibility of training nurses in palliative care and also provides moral support to AMCPC.   AMCPC also has an agreement with KMC, the only hospital in the district to provide palliative out-patient care services, to provide a palliative team to the care centre at Vamanjoor.  When AMCPC provides residential care KMC will provide its professional service in terms of physicians and trained nurses.

In the long run the PMCPC plans to provide outreach services and also train health assistants who can be housed in homes of patients.

SERVICE THY MOTTO 

Lovina has been able to garner the support of other like-minded people who are rendering her support as governing council members of AMCPC.  Help also come in the form of donations from people of all hues and Lovina is confident of providing proper palliative care which is sadly overlooked in our district.  “Terminally ill people have their sensory organs such as skin and hearing intact till the last stage of life.  They need constant reassurance and more so need company which our hospice unit is going to fulfil”, says Lovina.  




But for the unrestricted support of her parents Lovina could not have gone ahead with the project with so much dedication at such rapid strides.  Though her father passed away early this year her mother Felcy Noronha has been providing her constant guidance and inspiration.  Talking to them one can really feel that the mother-daughter duo share the same kind of fervor and determination to make their lives more meaningful in the service of others.  May the tribe of such selfless people be on the rise! 

Contact Lovina:

(0824) 2262159/9449830186
 
email  ampalliativecare@yahoo.com

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    Comments on this article
    John Castelino, ShankerapuraTuesday, September 09, 2008
    Dr. Lovina, I wish there were hundreds like you. Your calling will never fail you. The greatest persons are those who serve the lowest.
    Comment on this message     

    Mukesh, Mangalore/RiyadhTuesday, September 09, 2008
    My eyes filled with tears after reading your great achivement.Really great effort.May god bless you for your good work.
    Comment on this message     

    Dr. Jacinta D'Souza, MangaloreMonday, September 08, 2008

    Dear Lavina, Heartiest Congratulations! It is a great joy for us at Roshni that your dream has come true. I am confident you and your team will bring solace, hope and light into the lives of all those who come to your Centre.

    You have done your Alma Mater proud by responding to your inner urge with courage and determination. May Our Blessed Mother guide your every step in this beautiful venture. Happy Feast of the Nativity! J. D'Souza Principal School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya

    Comment on this message     

    Michael Menezes, Kadri/Abu Dhabi/Ex-Rotary member Mangalore CentralSunday, September 07, 2008
    I salute you for your courage to start this shelter, May the Good Lord Bless you in fulfilling His mission on earth. Keep it Up!
    Comment on this message     

    Margaret Rego, Mangalore, KuwaitSunday, September 07, 2008

    Dear Dr. Lavi, Congratulations for making your dream come true of AMCPC, we are glad that there is another Mother Theresa to follow her foot steps in helping the sick and helpless. May your good work be blessed a hundred fold and may many experience the tender love and care from your hands and your staff. It is surprising to know that there are still good selfless and caring people live in this world.

    May God bless your work abundantly and may Mother Mary (Ave Maria)be with you always guiding and guarding you along the way as SHE too walked the difficult path in this world. With love and best wishes, Margaret Rego

    Comment on this message     

    GURUDATH NAYAK, SURATHKAL/MADAGASCARSaturday, September 06, 2008
    FANTASTIC IT IS REALLY GREATE
    Comment on this message     

    Francis Fernandes,, Mangalore - 575001Saturday, September 06, 2008
    Dear Dr Lovina Noronha. This Is A Great Job, Congrats to you. Francis Fernandes.
    Comment on this message     

    prescilla fernandes,mangalore, mangaloreSaturday, September 06, 2008
    Congratulations Dr.Lavina amd your team. Your selfless service to the mankind be an example to us. May God bless you in your future days.
    Comment on this message     

    Joyleen Fernandes, Bejai,Mangalore/IndiaFriday, September 05, 2008
    Hi Dr.Lavina, Hearty congratulations! May God bless u & keep u healthy for many many years to serve the needy. You are an inspiration to me.
    Comment on this message     

    Philomena Serrao, Mangalore/GoaFriday, September 05, 2008
    Dear Lavina Congrats to u & 2 ur mom I m very proud of u and always knew thaat u were made 4 great things. God bless ur venture.
    Comment on this message     

    Rajesh Sequeira, Kulshekar, Dubai, Coordinator Karnataka NRI Forum UAESaturday, September 06, 2008
    Lavina who is hailing from kulshekar is also my very close neighbour and doing this great job. Hatts off to you. I am sure many of our fellow freinds could help her she can be contacted on Tel: 2262159 9449830186 E-mail: ampalliativecare@yahoo.com those who want to contact in Dubai could contact me on rajseq22@yahoo.com since I am in constant touch with her.
    Comment on this message     

    fr alfred pinto, Kinnigoli, mangaloreThursday, September 04, 2008
    Dear Lavina, I am not surprized by your project for you have been showing since many years the concern for the people with problems and you have fully equipped yourself to handle with care the children, young and old. I congratulate you and your loving mom who supports your endeours. I am glad to see you helping people to age gracefully in the parishes. You will have its reward in hundredfold.
    Comment on this message     

    Lavina Noronha, MangaloreFriday, September 05, 2008
    I am deeply humbled by the overwhelming response from the readers. I want the readers to know that the Governing Council of AMCPC- Mr. Naveen D’Souza, Prof. Clement D’Souza, Mrs. Aruna Gojer, Prof. Rita Noronha and Mrs. Veronica Pinto have toiled tirelessly to make this project a reality. Without Providence, the support of Governing Council, the Advisory Committee, hundreds of donors and well wishers, the patience of our contractor Mr. Roy Castelino and others, we would not have been able to reach this stage. Thank you to one and all and please do continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We have come a long way but the journey has just begun.
    Comment on this message     

    Dhuvri, MogarnadThursday, September 04, 2008
    Dr. Noronha you are simply great.you have courage and inner strength to see the real image and likeness if your Creator in the old and elderly. All the best God bless you
    Comment on this message     

    Ms. L. Suares, Mangalore - KuwaitThursday, September 04, 2008
    Dear Dr. Lovina, Hats off to You & to your Great Mom, for supporting such a worthy cause ! May the Almighty reward your noble deeds abundantly !
    Comment on this message     

    Shubha Rodrigues, MangaloreThursday, September 04, 2008
    Congratulations Dr. Lovina! Each one of us cannot do what you have started. But we will surely try to be of some help to you in your noble mission, and pray that many who are blessed abundantly by the good Lord may come forward to support you. All the best and good luck.
    Comment on this message     

    Lula D'Souza, M'lore/MumbaiThursday, September 04, 2008
    Dear Dr.Lavina, Congratulation to you and your mother for the great task you have taken and the sacrifice your are doing for humanity.
    Comment on this message     

    M.K.BEARY, UAEThursday, September 04, 2008
    A kind loving heart always feel the pain of others. A praising word is not enough for your sacrifices Doctor. May God Almighty shower his blessings on you and your children.
    Comment on this message     

    Alex Saldanha, M'lore/Sydney-AustraliaThursday, September 04, 2008
    Good on you Dr. Lavina, it's a inspirational and great achievement, need lot of determination, courage and planning. Great-you have made Mangloreans proud, it will give lot of inspiration to people to do or give something to the society. God bless you and your family. Myself & my wife will meet you personally and congratulate you on your achievement during our visit to India in December.
    Comment on this message     

    Nelson, mangaloreThursday, September 04, 2008
    Dear Dr.Lavina, your cause of serving terminally ill shows your concern for the people. May your good work be blessed and many may experience twilight.
    Comment on this message     

    Alwyn D'Souza, Mangalore(Canada)Thursday, September 04, 2008
    Congarts! God bless you.
    Comment on this message     

    Fr. Victor D'Mello, Kelmbet/ mangaloreThursday, September 04, 2008
    Congratulations and good luck Lovina. May God Bless you in 100 fold. I pray that as your dream comes true. May you always experience inner Peace and fulfilment in your life.
    Comment on this message     

    Lawrence, Mangalore/CanadaThursday, September 04, 2008
    Hi Lovina, Congratulations. I admire your guts, determination and strength of conviction. Probably, I may need your services some day in future. Best wishes.
    Comment on this message     

    G Noronha, Kadri/TorontoThursday, September 04, 2008
    Dr. Noronha, Your pioneering and selfless effort in starting the hospice in Mangalore to allow the old and sick to die with dignity is absolutely commendable. I wish you every success in this endeavor and may God bless you. With best wishes.
    Comment on this message     

    Priya Das, Karkala / MumbaiThursday, September 04, 2008

    You are an amazing and selfless person. To leave a lucrative job and life behind and follow your dreams takes a lot of guts. Congratulations! Dr. Lovina Noronha. Helping others without expecting anything in return is a great virtue of a very few in the society and Dr. Lovina, you are one among the very few.

    Hats off to you! and also to the Author of this piece of great article Ms. Florine Roche. You are going a great service as well Ms. Florine, by bringing such invaluable articles through Daijiworld for the information of thousands and thousnads of people.

    Comment on this message     

    Nita Pinto, Mangalore/Abu Dhabi/AucklandThursday, September 04, 2008
    Dear Lavi Hearty Congratulations for making your dream come true!! Indeed we are very proud of you and may God be with you in all your endeavours. With love and best wishes Nita
    Comment on this message     

    Sandra, USAThursday, September 04, 2008
    GOD bless you and Congratulations. You are doing a great job.
    Comment on this message     

    Fr.Walter Mendonca SVD, Kulshekar/JamaicaThursday, September 04, 2008
    Dear Lavi, My hearty Congratulations, for realizing your dream of starting AMCPC. It is a very noble and divine task that you have taken up to serve the humanity. I am proud of you and your parents who gave their full support. May the Lord walk with you, strenghten you and provide for all your needs to run this Hospice. May Mother Mary (Ave Maria) be your constant compnion and inspiration. God bless you and your staff. With best and loving wishes, Fr.Walter Mendonca SVD
    Comment on this message     

    margaret, karkala, u.s.a.Thursday, September 04, 2008
    You are an amazing and selfless person. To leave a lucrative job and life behind and follow your dreams takes a lot of guts. Congratulations! Hope someday I will follow your footsteps...helping others without expecting anything in return. Hats off to you!
    Comment on this message     

    Fr. Leslie Shenoy, USA/MangaloreThursday, September 04, 2008
    Congratulations and the Church is very proud of you for your excellent work to humanity. Wish you all the best, with God's blessings - Fr. Shenoy
    Comment on this message     

    VR Miyar, Miyar/DXB/LosWednesday, September 03, 2008
    Dr. Noronha, we are proud of you, doing a good job for the needy ... very all the best
    Comment on this message     

    Meena Saldanha, Mangalore/KuwaitWednesday, September 03, 2008
    Hi Lavi, Congrats! on your dream project.Iam very happy for you, your hard work has borne fruits. God Bless your Good work.
    Comment on this message     

    Peter Menezes, M'lore/SauidWednesday, September 03, 2008
    Congratulations to Dr.L.Noronha. I was very happy to read your dedication and selfless service toward man kind. Best of luck and those trouble makers must learn a lesson from you. Keep it up the good work that you started in.
    Comment on this message     

    Roy D'Souza, Bangalore / DubaiWednesday, September 03, 2008
    Congratulations to Dr. Noronha for her great insight to set up this unique help to humanity. May Mother Mary Guide & Bless your Centre with the right direction and abundant resources to give your patients the much needed care and support
    Comment on this message     

    Jude, Mangalore DubaiWednesday, September 03, 2008
    What you are doing Dr. Noronha is simply fantastic. It takes a lot of courage and guts. I do not have words to express appreciation. It is so heartwarming to know that selfless people like you still exist in this world.
    Comment on this message     

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