CROWD.... Azizah Dun, Sabah Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs standing amongst the crowd of visitors at the Pink Family Day Picnic.
By : SHALINA R
AS THE "Pink October Worldwide Breast Cancer Awareness Month" came to an end last Sunday, Kinabalu Pink Ribbon (KPR) and Avon Malaysia Sdn Bhd jointly organized a "Pink Family Day Picnic" at Likas Bay.
300 turned up at the lively event that the organisers said was held to celebrate the victory of women who survived breast cancer. This is the second joint event that KPR has held in collaboration with Avon, the first being the Mother’s Day Walk Abreast event held in the month of May this year.
The fun-filled family-like get-together focused on the importance of maintaining good health in order to continue living a happy healthy life. Among the activities arranged were line dancing, karaoke and lucky-draw prize giving.
The Minister of Community Development and Consumer, Datuk Hajah Azizah Mohd Dun was the guest-of-honour at the picnic.
The day started with an early morning free Zumba dancing lesson. KPR, Avon representatives, their families and the public participated in the "endorphin inducing" session.
In addition, one of Avon’s Ambassadors and Celebrity Master Chef Dato’ Fazley Yaakob was also on hand to do his bit.
The Cancer Awareness Month has a big message for women as cancer affects about 1 in every 20 women in Malaysia.
Chef Fazley shared his experience when breast cancer struck two of his aunts, who fortunately survived. And he made sure that both aunts ate healthy food. He stressed that eating proper food is vital before, during and after the treatment for cancer. The Chef said breast cancer patients stand a good chance of surviving the disease with the support of family and the correct food intake.
He added, “Studies have shown that 80% of cancer is linked to food in-take.”
During a cooking demonstration, Fazley talked about using ingredients like butter, brown sugar and cinnamon that are believed to have anti-cancer properties.
In her speech to mark the end of the Month-long Cancer awareness campaign, the Minister of Community Development and Consumer, Datuk Hajah Azizah Mohd Dun, said, “The best gift we can ask from God is the blessing that each and everyone in our family are healthy and safe. When one person is sick, it affects everyone in the family. It is shocking to learn that one in every 20 women in Malaysia has a risk of getting breast cancer. Many new cancer patients are below 40 years old.”
She spoke from personal experiences as her own mother and two of her friends had succumbed to breast cancer.
The Minister’s husband and daughter also came to support the Pink Family Day picnic. Strong supporter of KPR, Kota Kinabalu City Hall Director-General, Datuk Yeo Boon Hai and his wife were also present at the event.
Azizah who officiated the launch of KPR back in 2010 has been a pillar of support for their activities ever since.
Paying tribute to Lucilla Pang, the President of KPR. who is herself a breast cancer survivor, Datuk Azizah said, “Lucilla Pang has been instrumental not only in the setting up of Pink Ribbon in Kota Kinabalu but has also been creating waves through breast cancer awareness programs in Sabah.”
KPR is a non-government (NGO) and non-profit voluntary organization comprising members who survived breast cancer, family members and volunteers. As the only breast cancer support organization in Sabah, KPR provides emotional and psychological support to all survivors and their families. They aim to provide counseling service during or after treatment and are constantly working on building and increasing breast cancer awareness through public education.
47 year old breast cancer survivor, Misma Butit, a teacher from Ranau, received great support from the KPR. After a Breast Self Examination (BSE), she discovered a lump in one of her breasts last year. Following medical tests it was confirmed to be stage 2 cancer.
Learning of Misma’s trouble, a colleague who has a sister in KPR introduced her to this support group . Misma is grateful for the friendship that she has made with the members.
They have supported her all the way, through surgery and treatment. Although she immensely appreciated the information provided and support given by her doctor, she said the personal experiences shared by other breast cancer survivors of KPR were priceless.
She learned what to expect during her treatment from a patient’s point of view, received great support and advice in dealing with it long after her recovery. The mother of 3 children is also very grateful for the support given by her family.
Her husband, Justin Intang, a 46 year-old teacher, said, “At first the family was shocked to hear the news, but we made sure we were strong for her in facing with the challenges that came along.”
He said he was indeed worried knowing the fatality level of cancer but he decided to keep a positive outlook. The positive thinking, prayers and response from his whole family and relatives also helped them pull through the ordeal.
Justin added that anyone can be at risk. Acceptance and determination to overcome it is important.
This incidence of breast cancer is high among Malaysians, regardless of gender. According to medical sources, breast cancer comprises 18% of all cancer cases.
Misma has been cancer free for about 8 months now. (Insight Sabah)