Press release: Young survivors unite against cancer at Relay Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, 26 July 2017 – Young cancer survivors will be celebrating their victory over the disease at the biggest cancer fundraising and awareness event of the year.
Relay for Life Kuala Lumpur, organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, is back for its eleventh year at Dataran Petaling Jaya on 9 and 10 September 2017.
For 16 hours, everyone in society – patients, survivors, family, friends, local communities – are encouraged to take turns walking around a running track. The overnight event also celebrates the battle of cancer patients, honours those who died from the disease, and will focus on young adults this year.
“Some people may think that cancer only hits those who are older, but that’s not true – children as young as a few months old can get cancer too,” says Dato’ Zuraidah Atan, Chairperson of Relay for Life Kuala Lumpur. “We are also seeing a rise of cancer, especially breast and colorectal*, among young adults.”
Dato’ Zuraidah explains that young cancer survivors face different challenges than older adults do: “Many tell us they don’t fit in with the adult cancer support groups because they can’t relate. They are also more isolated because they have to miss school as well as time with friends.
“As they are young, many are unlikely to be insured, and may feel guilty of causing a financial burden to their parents.”
To support young patients as well as survivors, the National Cancer Society of Malaysia had set up a young cancer survivors group in 2016.
“This group will be making a ‘debut’ at this year’s RFL – they will join the first lap, which is always walked by survivors – and even perform on stage at night.”
While cancer is increasing in Malaysia, more people are surviving the disease due to advances in treatment, Dato’ Zuraidah adds.
“NCSM has strengthened its support programmes: this includes setting up a toll-free helpline (1800-08-1000), a mobile application that has a ‘ask a nurse’ forum (Stronger than cancer), increasing our wellness activities, and expanding peer to peer support programmes in other hospitals.”
“Funds raised from RFL will go towards all of our support programmes, our education and outreach activities, cancer and health screening services, as well as free accommodation for children with cancer.”
Artists including Altimet, Liyana Fizi and celebrity chef Anis Nabilah are also lending their support for this year’s ‘Relay’, which include live performances, on-stage exercises or Zumbathons, carnival style games and awareness activities.
Another signature activity is the Luminaria ceremony, in which participants gather and remember loved ones who have lost to cancer, honour those who fought, and support those still fighting.
“We thank participants, sponsors and fundraisers who have been with us all these years – we couldn’t have made it without you,” Dato Atan adds. “Please join us once again to celebrate, remember, fight back, and make a difference.”
Online registrations can be made at relayforlifemalaysia.com.
NCSM is especially grateful to its sponsors and supporters Bridgestone Tyres, Astro, Vitahealth, Idifynetz, Brother International, Credit Guarantee Corporation, Magnum, Magnum Cares, Spritzer, Altimet, Liyana Fizi, Chef Anis Nabilah, Superwonderful films and Cereal Films.
Mr Francis Lau (General Manager of Bridgestone Tyres), Dato Zuraidah Atan (Chairperson of RFL Malaysia), Julia Benedict (young cancer survivor), Wan Musfira Aimi (young cancer survivor), Aalex Termizi (young cancer survivor), Sharon Lee (Director of Strategic Planning), Wei Qing (young cancer survivor), Mr Alan Tham (Marketing Manager of Brother International), En Daud Bin Yunus (Director of Vitahealth Group), En Mohd Reza Mohd Hatta (Vice President of Credit Guarantee Corp Bhd), Ms Jennifer Chin of Magnum 4D Bhd, Clare Ratnasingham (Vice President of NCSM) and Sudhaharan Nair (General Manager of NCSM)
1. A study by Myers et al. shows an increase of colorectal cancer incidence by more than two per cent each year in young adults – the younger population also face a poor prognosis.
2. Veettil et al. also state that other Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar) have a lower incidence of colorectal cancer than Malaysia. Malaysians are also more at risk due to rising obesity, smoking and westernised diet.
Quoting a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit: breast cancer incidence (new cases) has risen since the 1990s across the Asia-Pacific. The increment of new (breast cancer) cases is four to eight times that for the world, and is a major healthcare issue.