Cancer Awareness at an All Time High Print E-mail
( 0 Votes )
Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 31 May 2012 00:00

This year’s Cancer Walk was the biggest since its inception in 1996. The month of May is celebrated as Cancer Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Prevent and Control Cancer: Together We Can Do It”.

The Belize Cancer Society and its partners held numerous events during the month in an effort to raise awareness on the deadly and indiscriminating disease. A symposium was held that focused on prostate and testicular cancer. Breast cancer in females has been the focus of cancer awareness activists for years. However, males are equally at risk of developing cancer; mainly prostate and testicular cancer. In the month of May, representatives of the Belize Cancer Society and partners such as the Belize Medical and Dental Association appeared on talk shows, held seminars and other events in an effort to raise awareness on and support for the fight against cancer.

The most anticipated event of Cancer Awareness Month is the annual Cancer Walk. Belmopan and Dangriga held their Cancer Walk on May 12. Corozal and Belize City held their Cancer Walk on Saturday, May 26. The event started in Ladyville and ends at the Belize Cancer Society headquarters on Mercy Lane in Belize City. It is a nine-mile journey along Belize’s busiest stretch of road and the event has seen an increase in participants every year. The Belize Cancer Society expected a huge turnout this year and started preparing for this year’s walk as soon as last year’s event was completed. Additional corporate sponsors offered their support in financial or organizational assistance.

Thousands of Belizeans got out of bed early Saturday morning to walk in support of cancer warriors that are battling the disease and in remembrance of those who are no longer with us. One reason for the huge turnout is the awareness generated by Mrs. Kim Simplis- Barrow’s public battle with the disease. Mrs. Barrow is one of the most respected women in Belize because of her great advocacy for the rights of people living with disabilities and for instituting programs to improve the lives of underprivileged children. She has also been a cancer awareness activist and her diagnosis was a shock to many, since she is known as a woman with a quality workout routine and one who focuses on personal health. She was the inspiration, behind the University of Belize’s “Baldmiration” sensation; an event that saw many young men and women bald their heads or add pink streaks in their hair in an effort to raise awareness on cancer. The success of that initiative foretold great success for this year’s Cancer Walk.

The turnout for the Cancer Walk was even greater than expected. The massive crowd walked in high spirits. Stations were set up along the route where individuals handed out water and other refreshments. Prime Minister Barrow and his young daughter also participated in the event. His wife has been involved in the event for more than five years. She was not able to participate this year due to her own battle with the disease. On Monday, the nation learned that she had been hospitalized in Miami due to complications from cancer treatment. It is a terrible setback and Belizeans continue to show support through intercessional prayers. A prayer service will be held for her on Thursday at 6:00p.m. at St. John's Cathedral by Bishop Phillip Wright.