Health, Andile Tshuma
So today is finally the day the Zimpapers Annual Cancer Power Walk takes place with scores of individuals and companies participating.
The country’s largest diversified media group is holding the walk in partnership with Island Hospice and Healthcare.
This year’s edition which is being held in Kariba, Mutare, Bulawayo and Harare, is expected to be bigger and better.
So much has been happening behind the scenes to ensure that the day is a success and the response from stakeholders has been encouraging.
It is high time corporates started leading the cancer fight and it is an opportune time that in all efforts, the cancer fight moves a gear up, from awareness to action.
Zimpapers is one of the corporates in the country which have taken it upon themselves to ensure that there is action in the cancer fight and that it is never just about the talk.
It is one thing to write moving stories about survivors, to detail statistics and to write about researchers breaking new ground. It is another to actually stand up to do something. Such events as the cancer walk, other than just awareness and a public display, actually prompt people to ponder anew on their status, to get screened and to contribute to charities set up to help cancer patients.
It is true that while we may all be well meaning and wish those fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments successful recoveries, our material support is also needed and sparing a few dollars a month could really go a long way if all of us are to make a habit of it.
Zimpapers Bulawayo branch managing editor, Isaac Waniwa, said partners and participants were ready for today’s event, adding that he was confident the event was set for success.
“We are happy to share that all is set for the cancer walk and we are inviting residents to come and join us as this will be a nationwide event. The first team will leave Coghlan Primary School at 5.30AM for the 10KM run and other teams will follow after 30 minutes,” said Waniwa.
After the run, there will be a walk starting at 6AM. He said there will also be a Zumba session and other exciting activities for participants.
In Harare, the event is taking place at Old Hararians Sports Club, while in Mutare it is being held at the Manicaland Motoring Club. In Kariba the event is taking place at Nyamhunga Primary School.
Interested participants will also undergo health checks which will include HIV tests, breast cancer examinations and blood pressure and diabetes checks from service providers on site. In 2015, Zimpapers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Island Hospice which saw the group providing space across its platforms; radio and newspapers, to cancer and health issues.
While traditionally Zimbabweans are familiar with cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia, people are succumbing to pancreatic cancer, cancer of the colon, rectal cancer and many others.
Most people throughout October demonstrated their awareness of the breast cancer month by dressing up or accessorising with pink coloured items.
The pink ribbon campaign is probably one of the most prominent and popular awareness campaigns in the world. To most people, that’s certainly a good thing, but, if you want to truly support the fight to cure breast cancer, I don’t believe that buying pink and wearing pink is enough. To really stand up along survivors and all the other women and men who have been affected by this disease, action is just as important.
Zimbabwe has maintained the tradition, and has for many years now commemorated cancer month, but beyond October, the hive of activity seems to slow down as the promises to help in the fight against cancer are forgotten and the cancer patients continue the fight for survival alone.
Cancer awareness and support for programmes should go all year round. The #PinkOctober hashtag should not just be about solidarity speeches, it should be backed by action.
Corporates such as Zimpapers are doing right to ensure that cancer awareness is more than just the talk, but action too.
The more awareness there is about a disease or ailment, the more empowered people are and the more they are able to handle the disease.
No one is immune to cancer. While special diets, exercise and general healthy habits can help reduce chances of developing cancerous tumours by up to 40 percent, it is important for everyone to get screened once in a while.
There is a lot that businesses can do in the health sector. There is always something to be done and having corporates such as Zimpapers and its partners do it should be encouragement to other businesses to join in the fight because we are stronger together. – @andile_tshuma