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dr. Maria Witjaksono is one of the few doctors in Indonesia who specializes in palliative care. For patients with serious illnesses, like cancer, palliative care focuses not on curing the disease, but on improving the quality of life for both the patient and their loved ones.

My good friend Evie Karsoho invited me to chat with her and dr. Maria at the Dharmais Cancer Center in Slipi to better understand the benefits and implications of this type of healthcare.

A recent article by the Ministry of Health revealed that the cancer incidence rates are on the rise. There were approximately 330,000 people living with cancer back in 2013 and the numbers have continued to increase each year.

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“It is important that we become aware of the facts regarding breast cancer and understand that there are options to fight it,” explained dr. Maria Witjaksono. For the patients dr. Maria cares for, fighting cancer doesn’t necessarily involve curing the disease, but rather finding relief from the pain, stress, and mental anguish that the illness entails.

Every day, dr. Maria dedicates her time to palliative care beginning at 6:30 every morning and often finishes around midnight. With the help of a team of nurses, she provides care to an average of 12 patients per day, spending at least one hour with each. For over 15 years dr. Maria has dedicated her time and services to providing this specialized healthcare.

With palliative care, the practitioner takes into consideration not only the patient’s medical condition but also other important aspects of their life such as their family situation, financial needs, and their psychological well-being. It is a personalized approach, regardless of the medical diagnosis.

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“My role as palliative care physician is not only for those who has no access to treatment, but also to support those who are receiving cancer treatment, so that their quality of life can be maintained or improved. We address their psychological distress, social difficulties and spiritual concerns. For those whose physical states are too weak or too sensitive to undergo cancer treatments, we provide special care for them so that they can live with better conditions.”
– dr. Maria Witjaksono

dr. Maria was first introduced to this type of treatment while working at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the USA. Upon returning to Indonesia, she recognized that palliative care could provide vital support to the increasing number of people diagnosed with cancer.

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dr. Maria’s work in palliative care brings hope to many people in Indonesia. It is for this very reason that Evie and I decided to assist dr. Maria’s ongoing efforts with a special exhibition that will take place at Monolog in Plaza Senayan during the month of October 2015. This exhibition is dedicated to “Life in Pink” – a breast cancer awareness campaign, featuring 6 art editions from my Bio Fantasy collection. All proceeds will be donated to dr. Maria Witjaksono’s palliative care services for breast cancer patients who do not have access to proper healthcare in Indonesia.

Tripple kisses, M. S.

(Photography by Evie Karsoho)


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Save the Date:

A Tribute to Chairil Anwar, ’Bio Fantasy’ Exhibition by Melissa Sunjaya.
Featuring 6 illustrated archival giclée prints

at Monolog Coffee in Plaza Senayan, Jalan Asia Afrika
1 – 31 October 2015

LIFE IN PINK (See, Understand & Love)
A Breast Cancer Awareness campaign
by Monolog Coffee & Tulisan in the month of October 2015.

Available size:
Medium giclée (500 x 650 x 40 mm on stretched canvas)
Petite giclée (200 x 250 x 40 mm on stretched canvas).

All proceeds will be donated to dr. Maria Witjaksono’s palliative care services, for breast cancer patients who do not have access to proper healthcare in Indonesia.