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1,900 participants give a boost to Pink Ribbon Walk
BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION (BCF) launched Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) on Oct 6 with the Pink Ribbon Walk 2018.
Held at the Singapore Sports Hub this year, Pink Ribbon Walk is Singapore's largest, and also BCF's signature event, dedicated to raising awareness and showing support for those affected by breast cancer. The event was graced and flagged off by guest of honour Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education, and patron of BCF.
For the first time at Pink Ribbon Walk, close to 1,900 participants sported pink caps in the Pink Ribbon Groove, a mass dance led by survivors, caregivers, volunteers and organising committee members of BCAM. The 1,900 caps symbolised the more than 1,900 women each year who are diagnosed with breast cancer in Singapore.
Ms Indranee said: "I am blown away by the amazing spirit displayed today at my first event as BCF's Patron. My sister passed away from breast cancer, so this is a very meaningful cause to me. Breast cancer affects not only the body, but also the mind. Emotional support is crucial, which is why family, friends, and support groups such as those offered by BCF make a huge difference in the fight against breast cancer, as well as early detection through regular breast checks."
This year's Pink Ribbon Walk was made more significant with the BCAM theme, Every Woman Matters, a reminder that women take on many roles in the community as mothers, daughters, sisters, working professionals, caregivers and more. Based on the 2017 cancer registry report, it was estimated that one in 14 women in Singapore will develop the condition before the age of 75.
Despite the prevalence of the condition, less than 40 per cent of eligible women in Singapore have participated in crucial screening mammogram.
Noor Quek, president of Breast Cancer Foundation, said: "We are proud to unite the community at Pink Ribbon Walk 2018 with over 4,000 registered participants this year, the highest number of registrations in the past four years. With breast cancer remaining the most common form of cancer for women in Singapore, it is inspiring to see women from all walks of life stand in solidarity for the cause and demonstrate that Every Woman Matters in the fight against breast cancer while sharing the importance of early detection of breast cancer through regular breast checks."
Breast cancer survivor Cally Koh was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at age 31 in 1996.
There were, of course, the intial shock and doubts. "I remember clearly that the nurse who was giving me chemo was all covered up in plastic, ensuring the drugs do not get into her. So I asked her: 'You are all covered up and you inject these into my body? So what is going to happen to me?' The nurse smiled and could not give me an answer then."
Ms Koh went through 33 sessions of radiation and seven months of chemotherapy.
"I knew it would not be an easy journey, hence I tried to make it better by having fun! I never made myself look like a sick person - I dressed up, ensuring at every treatment, I looked good. When I look good, I feel good. I recalled when I went to the clinic, the nurse would say 'the model is here'... that brought a smile to me."
When Ms Koh was diagnosed, BCF was not founded yet.
"I knew I needed support so I asked my oncologist and she referred me to Reach to Recovery, another support group. I met the ladies and realised many were in their 50s or older. One of my key takeaways was that breast cancer is treatable and recovery rate is good and this is of great motivation. Twenty-two years ago, Breast Cancer was still not common and many do not know much about it. There was definitely no awareness month or education on this cancer. It was during my remission that BCF was founded and I started joining their activities."
Now, at 53, she said that life after cancer is beautiful, healthier and more purposeful.
Estee Lauder Companies Inc are also in the fight against breast cancer with the Breast Cancer Campaign - founded by the late Evelyn H Lauder, who co-created the iconic Pink Ribbon - which is now in its 26th year.
The Estee Lauder Companies Inc and the five beauty brands under its portfolio are launching limited-edition pink products to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
- Visit The Estee Lauder Companies Inc website and follow them on social media at @esteelaudercompanies to find out more.