Nairobi, KE – The Kenya Cancer Association[i], on May 30, 2017 officially KICKED OFF and activated Relay for Life Kenya 2017 at Sarova Panafric Hotel from 7:00am to 9:00am. Relay for Life (RFL) is the largest Global Cancer fundraising event done in more than 29 countries in the world. It brings together Survivors, Patients, Caregivers and all stakeholders concerned with the rising burden of cancer. In Africa RFL is held in only three countries; Zambia, South Africa and Kenya.
This 24-hour event involves an overnight camp out with a Vigil and teams take turns walking or running around a track; in the Kenyan case, it has traditionally been done at the Nyayo National Stadium. The event is 24 hours to signify the aspect; cancer never sleeps. It is a time when everyone in the country is invited to come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much but more so give hope to patients and caregivers.
As a preparation for this event that will take place on September 30th to October 1st 2017 The Kenya Cancer Association will be havinghad an Official KICKOFF to activate the registration and build up to the event that will be in its 4th Edition this year. Several National and county leaders were in attendance including the Acting CEO of the National Cancer Institute Dr. Alfred Karagu, Machakos County Gubernatorial aspirant Ms Wavinya Ndeti, others include Cancer Survivors, Patients, Caregivers, Corporate leaders and other concerned citizen and stakeholders.
During the Event KENGEN offered a Support of KES 500, 000 to the event. Speaking at the event, KenGen’s Operation’s Manager Eng. Julius Odumbe said that Cancer has become a major issue of concern to the country and KenGen would be offering an annual support to the fight against cancer. He also reiterated on the need of various partners and stakeholders joining in the fight against the disease.
Ms. Wavinya Ndeti who is a Gubernatorial aspirant also offered her support to the initiative and pledged to ensure that more is done even at the policy and implementation levels. Wavinya Ndeti whose husband died of Colon Cancer said that she understands the challenges that cancer patients and their families go through, noting how expensive it is to treat the disease.
Also present at the event was KENCANSA’s Dispora Ambassador Annah Kimeu who donated Prosthesis and Wigs that support the Kenya Cancer Association Patient Support Program. KENCASA’s chairperson who is also the Head of the Cancer Registry Ann Korir called on everyone to participate in this year’s Relay for Life event noting that it was a way in which everyone can make a contribution to the fight against cancer. She added that each person can make a difference.
From Left to Right : KENCANSA Executive Director Deborah Olwal – Modi, KENCANSA Resource Mobilization Officer: Miriam Matee, KENGEN’s Community Liason Isaac Asienwa, KENGEN’s Operations Manager Engineer Julius Odumbe, and Mwangi Gitonga
More than 5500 people have attended Relay for Life in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Significantly funds raised through this initiative have advanced KENCANSA’s programmes and efforts in patient support among other activities aimed at addressing the rising burden of Cancer.
The Kenya Cancer Association is committed to Fighting Cancer in Kenya and reducing the burden of cancer in the country with a Vision of a Kenya without Cancer. The core focus areas of the Kenya Cancer Association is Cancer Patient Support, Cancer Advocacy and Research and also carrying out Cancer Education Awareness. One of the main achievements that KENCANSA has been able to do is to carry out a Patient Feeding Program at the Kenyatta National Hospital that reaches out to more than 800 patients each month. KENCANSA has significantly been involved in engaging policy makers and was part of the team that pushed for the Cancer Prevention and Control Act.