September 12, Kuala Lumpur – despite unrelenting rain, thousands of people, including Her Royal Highness Tuanku Zara Salim, cheered and celebrated cancer survivors at the city’s biggest cancer awareness and fundraising event.
Relay for Life Kuala Lumpur, a signature event of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM), was held for the 11th year at Dataran Petaling Jaya on 9 September.
For 16 hours, over a thousand people, including 500 patients and survivors, celebrities, families and friends, young people, corporates and local communities took turns walking around the running track.
The overnight event also featured performances by rapper Altimet, child cancer survivor Adik Qistina, Shh…Diam, young survivor Aalex Termizi, as well as a cooking demonstration by Celebrity Chef Anis Nabliah – all of whom donated their time and effort to Relay for Life and NCSM.
“We were concerned about a low turnout as it had rained all day, but our participants proved us wrong,” says Dato’ Zuraidah Atan, the Chairperson of Relay for Life Kuala Lumpur. “Nobody even complained – right before we started, everyone just took their place at the field and prepared to walk.
“When the rain got worse, some people – including our young volunteers – simply took off their shoes and marched on. Their unwavering spirit and support was inspiring.”
The Society’s Young Cancer Survivors Group also made a debut this year.
“This year, the focus of Relay for Life is on our young survivors,” says Dato’ Zuraidah. “Some people still think that cancer only hits those who are older, but that’s not true.
“Children – as old as two months – and teenagers can get cancer too. These young survivors face different set of challenges than older adults do: many can’t relate to older adults, are isolated from friends, and are unlikely to be insured.
“They need just as much – if not more – support from society. We are immensely proud of them for their performance today, and for presenting Luminaria – our special ceremony to remember loved ones lost to cancer, honour those who fought, and support those still fighting.”
Funds raised from RFL will go towards the National Cancer Society of Malaysia’s support programmes, education and outreach activities, cancer and health screening services, as well as accommodation for children with cancer.
To strengthen and empower more cancer patients across Malaysia, NCSM has set up:
(a) a Young Cancer Survivors Group,
(b) a toll-free cancer helpline (1800-08-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org),
(c) ‘Stronger than Cancer’ – a mobile application that has an ‘Ask a nurse’ forum, and
(d) a website for advanced breast cancer patients (www.advancedbreastcancer.org.my)
NCSM is especially grateful to its sponsors: Bridgestone Tyres, Astro, Vitahealth, Idifynetz, Brother International, Credit Guarantee Corporation, Spritzer, MySihat, Magnum Cares, Superwonderful Films and Cereal Films.