Relay for Life Malaysia is the signature fundraising event for National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM). As a non-profit association, the society depends on the generosity of the donations provided by the donors, fundraisers, and volunteers to finance for health screening, education, care and support services Through the liberal donations, one of the main objectives is to empower and unite the Malaysians against the curse of cancer. Their goals are transparent so the public is aware of where their donations are used. The society focuses to use the donations for community outreach programmes, therapies and wellness programmes for cancer patients and survivors, cancer and health screening services and free accommodation for underprivileged children going through cancer treatment.
Reinforcing and empowering more cancer patients across Malaysia is quite crucial hence the NCSM has set up a young Cancer Survivors Group which is a support group for the individuals who battled cancer head on much younger, a toll-free cancer helpline (1-800-08-1000) on which you can call for emergencies and enquiries, A mobile application known as ‘Stronger than Cancer’ that has an ‘Ask a nurse’ forum and finally a website focused particularly on the advanced breast cancer patients (www.advancedbreastcancer.org.my).
|Date||9 and 10 September 2017|
|Time||Saturday (6pm) – Sunday (10am)|
|Location||Dataran Petaling Jaya (Padang Timur) Persiaran Barat|
It was an overnight event that brings communities together to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors, remember those who have passed on, and raise funds to help NCSM in the fight against cancer. 16-hours from dusk to dawn, participants took turns to walk around the track. The track is never ‘left alone’, a symbol that cancer never sleeps. The overnight event also featured performances by rapper Altimet, child cancer survivor Adik Qistina, young survivor Aalex Termizi, as well as a cooking demonstration by Celebrity Chef Anis Nabilah – all of whom donated their time and effort to Relay for Life and NCSM. The Society’s Young Cancer Survivors Group also made a debut this year.
|Volunteers from IMU who joined:|
|Bushra Farooq (Captain)|
|Lee Cheng Hern|
|Naveenya Chetty Annan|
|Keh Hsiao Wai|
|Nicole Tay Wuen Rong|
The tremendous effort was highlighted from the start of the event which was shown in the spirit of the people, every single booth was solely focused on doing their best and there was a smile on everyone’s face as we all were present for a mutual reason which was to see through the event till the end and make it a success. This year’s theme was ‘One World, One Hope’ which was on the T-shirt and I felt it stood for unity among everyone regardless of going through cancer or knowing someone who did. There were roughly around 15 or more booths with different activities such as painting, and for sure no event is complete without food, especially for Malaysians. What I admired the most about the food was how the majority was focused on pressed juices, fresh cut fruits, sugar-free granola health bars and much more. To promote not only through the billboards and T-shirts but through the food was well done. The booth that single handily stood out was Astro, the reason why I say so is that of their activity which was for visitors to take one round and collect stamps. The individual can then redeem them for either snacks or goodies. There were people who walked around for over half hour or more to collect their incentives but learn through the process as well because of the interaction with different survivors and feel more grateful towards their own life.
The highlight of the event was the ‘Light a Luminaria’ – The idea was to write a message about someone you have lost to cancer on paper lanterns which were then arranged on the ground throughout the field and was lit at the same time where everyone took a moment to remember their loved ones and to make a prayer. There was silence and yet everyone was harmonious with the light melody in the background, it felt like a giant hug speaking metaphorically of course.
In conclusion, I would like to say that a society which has successfully managed to organise and execute such an enjoyable event and yet make sure that the core message stood out, which has always been to spread awareness about cancer and give a huge shout-out to the cancer survivors and the individuals who are going through it and the support for the caregivers was beautifully seen throughout the two days of the event. After speaking with a few people, I am confident to say that I am more grateful and appreciative of the healthy life that I have been blessed with. No wonder this was the 11th time NCIM outdid themselves.
My recommendation for people reading this is to sign up for next year as volunteers and take your families to support this cause, it not only will make you closer towards your loved ones but also help you build a great quality of empathy.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RelayForLifeMalaysia/
Written by: Bushra Farooq