Early detection saves lives.
Written by: Tamara Arden
iThemba believes that community education and awareness are key to early detection. The more women who know about breast cancer, the more women they will encourage to do monthly self-examinations and annual mammograms.
In order to raise awareness, a large scale event has made its way onto many women’s annual calendar. The 8th Avon Justine iThemba Crusade of Hope breast cancer Walkathon came alive at Marks Park in Emmerentia. Groups of walkers made their way to the venue in the early hours of the morning to ensure their place in the first 8km walk. Dressed in pink to showcase their support, groups of walkers were adorned with bunny ears, tutus, hats and fun accessories.
To loosen their limbs up, walkers took to the grass area in front of the stage and began a Zumba workout, keeping their dance moves bold and their body’s active in preparation of the walk ahead of them.
Managing director of Kaya FM, Greg Maloka, spoke to the walkers minutes ahead of the first walkathon. He acknowledged the survivors and the supporters and told those who have fought bravely that he is right behind them.
Breast Cancer survivor Lillian Dube shares her optimistic and warm energy with the crowd. Each dance move echoes her high spirit of life. Reminding walkers that cancer can be detected early if checked properly, she commends the women for coming to support and celebrates life with a large smile and vibrant attitude.
Zoleka Mandela gets the walkers attention before they embark on their route.
“I try instilling hope for women using my life to make a difference for those who are less privileged, “she says.
There is excitement in the air as Garron Gsell cuts the ribbon. One the pink ribbon has dropped, a mass crowd enters the road to begin their journey.
Wings of Hope, a cancer support centre, have a stall at the event. Volunteer and survivor, Helen Son, welcomes people to her table, which sells jewellery, trinkets and shirts. All items sold are used for support groups. The organisation assists those with cancer at all stages of their illness and helps families and friends cope with cancer in their lives.
Cheryl Westoby of Wings of Hope says, “Be positive about everything. Every day is a gift”.
Look Good Feel Better invites people to their cause. Their stall promotes building self-esteem and confidence for many women who have endured the experience.
The grounds are full with supporters, volunteers and walkers. They stand together in unison for the individuals who have lost their battle with breast cancer or managed to survive the journey with a new take on life. These people are gifts to themselves. They see their lives with light and warmth, and are happy to enjoy another day. The mood is compassionate. Those who don’t understand the chronic illness were given the opportunity to learn about it, and those who have endured the process of treatment, are a breathing reminder that early detection saves lives.
For further information on the Walkathon and on how to participate next year, click here