Walk for cancer, walk for life

Saturday, 12 February 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka Cancer Society’s event for spreading awareness and giving support  

By Shezna Shums

‘Cancer is a diagnosis. Not a death sentence.’ This is the hope that needs to be conveyed to the people. To bring this message to light, friends and family members of cancer victims and survivors will participate in a walk for Cancer on the March 6, at 4 pm from the Town Hall to Green Path.

Organized by the Sri Lanka Cancer Society, the main aim of the walk is to raise awareness that cancer can be beaten with early detection and timely treatment.

Chairman, Sri Lanka Cancer Society, A. J. B. Anghie said “a majority of people in our society will fear cancer, as it is considered to be a fatal disease. We want to change that perception and educate people that cancer is merely a diagnosis and can be treated and cured if detected in time. We hope that the walk will create this awareness and encourage people to take the necessary steps for early detection and prevention.”

As a first in the 60 year old history of the Sri Lanka Cancer Society, this walk symbolizes the support system and the strength of friends and family towards this cause. Therefore, the organizers hope that people from all walks of life will support its efforts to fight this disease that has an effect, either directly or indirectly on every family in society. This is the chance for the public to show their support alongside cancer survivors, their families, caregivers, activist and celebrities by joining the walk which celebrates life and bears witness to those who have triumphed over the disease.

After the conclusion of the walk, there will be a street parade with performances by musicians, dancers, street theatre groups and others. The day’s event will conclude with a hawker street food fair at Green Path in Colombo 7. The proceeds from the walk will be utilized to continue the varied projects that are currently under way, and for those in the pipeline. Stafford Industries (Pvt) Ltd are associate sponsors of the walk.

The Sri Lanka Cancer Society is an organization made up of volunteers and has been in existence since 1948. The society works towards educating people and helping to control, prevent and cure cancer in Sri Lanka.

With its headquarters in Colombo, it has branches in Kandy, Anuradhapura, Morotuwa, Galle and Batticaloa staffed by over 200dedicated volunteers who work towards achieving these goals.

A Poly Clinic is held every second Sunday of the month to screen patients for all types of cancer.

It is an important step in detecting and preventing this dreaded disease. The Society also runs a cancer home in Maharagama where patients receiving treatment are cared for by trained nursing staff.

The Shantha Sevana Hospice is the only institute of its kind in Sri Lanka and caters for terminally ill patients. Its goal is to provide relief for patients in the last stages of cancer. The Cancer Society also has a Public Education Unit which is dedicated to raising awareness amongst the general population about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of different types of cancer.

The Hospice is the only medically approved Hospice for the terminally ill and has two separate wards for men and women.

The Hospice provides shelter, food, recreation and counseling for patients and others as well as other facilities. What was stressed by people involved in the walk is that early detection can help a person cure cancer and lead a life like any other person.

Speaking at the Senior Consultant Surgeon, Cancer Institute Maharagama, Indrani Amerasinghe said that since she starting working at the Maharagama Cancer Hospital she has seen and applauds the work done by the Sri Lanka Cancer Society.

Maharagama Cancer Hospital and the Kandy Hospital was the only hospitals operating for cancer patients previously, however how there are cancer hospital in Badulla, Jaffna, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa “But still the number of patients visiting the Maharagama Cancer Hospital has doubled,” said Amerasinghe. Amerasinghe also emphasized the fact that people until their 40’s can expects their body to look after themselves however beyond 40’s a person has take care of their body and be careful of their health.

The walk will raise awareness not just for cancer patients but people to go for a checkup of their  feel something and thereby such early detections will cause them and their families less pain.