Monday, 20 April 2009
Participants at the Cancer Awareness Campaign race
BY CHUKS NWANNE
IN a bid to sensitize the public on cancer related issues, an American based breast cancer awareness campaign organisation; Susan G. Komen Foundation in collaboration with Onari Duke’s CS Don, recently A Run Towards the Cure, in Lagos.
The race, which started at 7am from the premises of the American International School, Victoria Island, through Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, then Adetokunbo Ademola Street, through Ajose Adeogun roundabout, and back to American International School via the same route, attracted distinguished guests, who participated. The event was holding in Nigeria for the first time.
Speaking during the flag off of the colourful event, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Renée Sanders, who also participated in the race, informed that through education and self-breast examinations, coupled with mammograms, the mortality rate of the disease could be turned into the survival rate in Nigeria. Her participation, she further revealed, is due to the importance she attaches to the Foundation instituted in 1982.
Ambassador Sanders, who praised the collaborators for their tireless efforts towards the initiative, however, observed that, “the event had a good and sad side to it.” To her, “it is sad news because the foundation is starting its first edition too late as scary statistics reveal that 80 percent breast cancer patients in Nigeria die because it is detected too late. While the other side of it is that it took off at last.”
“Breast cancer is a disease that claims the lives of millions of women and a much smaller number of men, world-wide. Western countries have made great strides in the fight against breast cancer by early detection and aggressive treatment of the disease, reducing mortality to about 10% when the disease is detected early. You already heard that unfortunately, 80% of breast cancer patients in Nigeria die because the disease is detected too late. We can change this grim statistic with your participation in this race.”
IN her remarks, wife of former Governor of Cross River State and founder of Children Survival and Development of Nigeria (CS-DON), Onari Duke express her joy over the involvement of other corporate organizations in the campaign.
“We have come together to be counted in the fight against breast cancer, as concerned members of the American International School Community. But we should remember that we are not alone.
“In particular, there is a Foundation in United States that has contributed an amazing amount of funds and resources to this particular struggle inspired by Susan G. Komen who fought breast cancer with her heart, body and soul. Throughout her diagnosis, treatment and her endless days in the hospital, she spent her time thinking of ways to make life better for other women battling breast cancer instead of worrying about her own situation. That concern for others continued even as Susan neared the end of her fight.”
Moved by Susan’s compassion for others and committed to making a difference, Duke continued, Nancy G. Brinker promised her sister (Susan) that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever.
“That promise is now ‘Susan G. Komen for the Cure’, the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than one billion USD ($1 billion) since inception in 1982. As the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists, we are working together to save lives, empower people and ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.”
ACCORDING to Ebere Mbanugoh, the chief organiser, “for every race registrant, $5 (five dollars) will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The rest will go towards the purchase of a mammogram machine for the Calabar Women and Children Hospital; a new health institution in Cross River State, established to provide free healthcare accessible to underprivileged women and children.
“By the end of the day our hope is to raise greater awareness and sufficient fund to improve facilities necessary to reduce the plague of this disease in our communities because we are aware that 90 percent of it is treatable if detected early. It is worrisome to note that 80 percent of breast cancer patients in Nigeria die because it is detected too late. So today, we are walking for the millions of women in Nigeria, affected or at risk of being affected by breast cancer.”
Meanwhile, first three men and women in the race were presented with gift items, courtesy of the organizers.