Efforts to improve screening and access to treatment for breast cancer are making a marked difference, according to the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), the first cancer NGO in the country financed entirely by voluntary contributions from the public. As we observe breast cancer awareness month in October, NCSM is hosting Pink Brunch, a fundraiser leading up to the World Cancer Congress (WCC) which the NGO also co-hosts with the Union for International Cancer Control.
Held at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur on Oct 2, the brunch will be attended by royalty worldwide — including HRH Tuanku Zara Salim, patron of Pink Brunch; HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan and President-elect of UICC, First Lady of Armenia Anna Hakobyan, and more — to highlight the importance of breast cancer prevention and education. All funds raised will go towards subsidising the cost of food as well as travel expenses for underprivileged patients seeking cancer treatment from government hospitals in Malaysia. To find out more about the fundraiser, we speak to vice president of NCSM Clare Ratnasingham, the organising chairperson.
Options: What can attendees look forward to at the Pink Brunch?
Clare: We will be celebrating our survivors on the catwalk, joined by former models such as Maggie Loo, Sofiah Rahman and Shasha Hamid. The show will feature the latest fashion from some of Malaysia’s leading designers including Juriah Jamil and Variante. Royalty from around the world will convene at the event to highlight the importance of breast cancer prevention.
This is the first time a Southeast Asian country is hosting the World Cancer Congress. What does this mean for Malaysia and the cancer research community here?
Having the congress in Malaysia motivates local and regional cancer control stakeholders to join 2,500 cancer control and public health experts worldwide. This is an excellent opportunity to assist the Malaysian government in achieving its cancer control targets. With thousands of participants as well as continuous sharing of best practices and success stories at the congress, we hope to show everyone, including the government, that cancer can be overcome despite mounting challenges.
How will NCSM benefit from hosting the WWC?
The latest studies reveal that 9.6 million people will die from cancer in 2018 worldwide, and more than half of these deaths will occur in Asia. We hope to show that cancer is not a short-term solution; it needs long-term investment. In the previous congress, [many representatives from different] countries have demonstrated the steps they have taken to battle cancer. We hope this will encourage Malaysian stakeholders to adopt the courage and fortitude to invest cancer control.
The WWC2018 will be held from Oct 1 to 4. To book a table for the Pink Brunch, contact Anne at 03 2698 7300 or email [email protected]. RM1,000 per chair; RM10k per table (RM750 contributed towards NCSM funds).