| Lyna Mohamad |
THE Charity Walk, Run and Cycle event, a collaboration between the Brunei Council on Social Welfare (MKM), the Health Promotion Centre (HPC), the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC), was held at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien yesterday.
Minister of Health, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar was the guest of honour.
Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Lew bin Abdullah, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications, Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin and senior officials were also present.
Around 630 people took part in the categories of walking (1.5km), running (10km/5km/3km) and cycling (10km), with the aim of raising funds for MKM’s charitable activities and projects, such as helping patients and their families affected by cancer.
The cycling category was flagged off by the Minister of Home Affairs.
Meanwhile, the walkathon was flagged off by the Minister of Transport and Infocommunications, who then joined the other ministers, permanent secretaries and their spouses alongside the participating cancer survivors, in a show of support and solidarity.
The charity event was organised in conjunction with the World Cancer Day celebrated annually on February 4, to raise cancer awareness which can enable early detection and prevention of the disease, as well as providing an avenue for the public to extend their support to cancer patients and survivors.
The three-year World Cancer Day theme (2019-2021) is titled, ‘I Am And I Will’, which according to the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC), asks its supporters two questions ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What will you do?’ urging empowerment for active action and personal commitment to reduce the impact of cancer for themselves, the people around them, their communities and the wider world.
UICC is a non-government organisation (NGO) that is closely linked to The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) at the PJSC.
Head of Early Detection and Cancer Prevention Unit at the TBCC Datin Dr Hajah Noraslinah binti Haji Ramlee said, “Through this event and many other cancer awareness programmes that the cancer centre will be putting in place annually, we can bring change and make a difference to reduce the impact of cancer, together with passionate individuals and supporting organisations and communities.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Health in an interview highlighted that breast cancer is the leading cause of death in Brunei Darussalam, followed by colon cancer, with nearly 700 Bruneians diagnosed with the disease in 2018.
“As in any developing country, cancer is the number one cause of death in Brunei Darussalam,” he said, adding that efforts are being made to raise public awareness on the symptoms, to allow for more effective treatment and better chances of survival.
“The MoH has launched its screening programme this year, to ensure that people will come forward to be screened, especially those with a higher risk for the disease. However, prevention is better than cure, so everyone needs to practise a healthy lifestyle by carrying out physical exercise.
“As the first NGO to initiate this charity event, MKM is setting a good example for other NGOs. Cancer awareness is not only the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, but also NGOs, the private sector and the general public.”
During the event, exhibition booths were set up by MKM, PJSC, HPC, the Children’s Cancer Foundation (YASKA), the Brunei Breast Cancer Support Group (BBCSG), HEART and MK Fashion.
Additionally, MKM sold World Cancer Day badges of coloured ribbons representing the different types of cancer, with all the proceeds to be donated directly to local cancer associations in hope of supporting the objective to assist cancer patients and their families.