Orange Foundation & Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation Raise Awareness on Cancer

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By Millicent Mannah

As the global cancer community commemorates World Cancer Day, Think Pink Breast Cancer Foundation in collaboration with Orange Foundation Sierra Leone, have on Friday 4th February 2022, launched an awareness campaign  with the theme “Close the Care Gap”. Think Pink Breast Cancer Foundation and Orange Foundation Sierra Leone joined the campaign to call on everyone, collectively and individually, to commit and to strengthen actions aimed at reducing the impact of cancer in Sierra Leone.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer for The Pink Breast Cancer Foundation (TPBCF), Mrs. Pratt, in her opening statement expressed her gratitude and thanks to all medical personnel fighting the good fight. She added that February 4th is a day that the entire world comes together to raise awareness about cancer. She added that World Cancer Day is a global movement that is uniting a global initiative that brings people all over the globe together, in an effort to raise the cancer awareness profile in a positive and inspiring way.

As the data collection relating to cancer is at a all time high, she called on all aid movements to come onboard and help tackle the rising number of Cancer victims, because cancer is a disease that requires attention at the onset and also public education. She went on to say that as the theme for this year is “Close the Care Gap”, she urged all those in the fight to do more than is required to make sure that every Sierra Leonean receives equitable access to care, attention and funding for treatment.

She furthered that Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation is a full member of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and it is a call to action from the Government, international partners and to every individual in Sierra Leone, to come together and realize that cancer is not only real, but it is also claiming a lot of lives. Mrs. Pratt, affirmed that not too long ago people were of the idea that only old people can contract Cancer, but statistics have proven that young people especially children aged nine – can also be infected with breast cancer, and that is why “Close The Care Gap” is a strong phrase which signifies that everyone needs to do more.

She added that cancer is a curable disease depending on early detection. She called on government institutions, Sierra Leone Cancer Society international partners, and Non-governmental organizations to take a look at the troubling situation affecting cancer victims –Financial constraints, illiteracy and discrimination amongst other variables are some of the leading factors that are negatively affecting the fight against cancer.

Mrs. Jestina Betts, on behalf of Orange Foundation Sierra Leone, acknowledged the efforts of those leading the fight against cancer. She affirmed that Orange as a leading and responsible telecommunications operator pride itself in not only connecting its customers to the digital Eco-space, but they are also providing the essentials for every Sierra Leonean.

She added that Cancer is a global concern that requires not only the help of the health sector, but also the private sector, and this is why under the health pillar in the Orange Foundation Sierra Leone, has partnered with Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation over the years – and as today marks another monumental event in the long historical partnership between Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation and Orange Telecommunication, their partnership has spanned over the years through sensitizing the public on the importance of Breast Cancer and also providing financial support to aid the treatment of breast cancer for patients.

She mentioned that over the years, Orange Foundation has been supporting Thinking Pink Foundation with staggering programs; such as the breast cancer marathon and sensitization in several schools, market places and Public offices nationwide. She affirmed that over 3.000 people were screened in 2020/21nationwide with hundreds of abnormalities were found during these tests, she added that despite this is a sad news for the victims, but knowing the disappointing truth is better than being ignorant. However, she firmly believed that this year’s theme is very much appropriate, as “Close the Care Gap” is a gallant call to all and sundry to play a part in creating a cancer free world.

Orange Foundation and thinking Pink are leading the demonstrations to show that they care about eradicating cancer through strong sensitizations, screening and treatments. She affirmed that “Closing the Care Gap” is not about big companies and brands fighting for cancer, rather it is about every individual making the decision to stop cancer in their own little way, as breast cancer is not only affecting women, as studies have shown over the years of great abnormalities in men. She ended that the fight is not going to be an easy one, but together, they are going to make real progress in eradicating cancer. She urged all Sierra Leoneans to take up the responsibility of fighting cancer together.

Emmanuella, a pupil and survivor who is not much older than 15, has been suffering from breast cancer for years and she explained her story and difficulties in relation to the disease. She thanked Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation and their partners for the good works they have done for her and other cancer victims over the years. She also urged all Sierra Leoneans to be doing daily check-ups and know their status. She added that the fight against cancer requires the attention of all, and as a volunteer in the fight against cancer, she encouraged all Sierra Leoneans to join the fight in any little way they can.

Dr. Ruth Taylor, mentioned that 41 million people are affected by breast cancer each year in sub-sahara Africa alone. She added that we cannot talk about cancer without mentioning Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).She went to say that NCDs are the number one cause of death and disability in the world. The term NCDs refers to a group of conditions that are not mainly caused by an acute infection, result in long-term health consequences and often create a need for long-term treatment and care. These NCDs are becoming alarming which is also a key factor in the high rate of cancer, and this is a urgent need for action by government and other institutions to help tackle this problem. She also encouraged all Sierra Leoneans to abstain from using tobacco and alcohol consumption as these two are key factors in developing cancer.

Thinking Pink Foundation focuses on nationwide breast cancer awareness. They try to raise awareness in communities, schools, universities, marketplaces, corporations and institutions – and support women with funds for their treatment options and source funds for out-of-the-country treatment as Sierra Leone lacks complete infrastructure in terms of cancer in the area of chemo and radiotherapy.


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