Cancer Association completes 100km awareness walk

Cancer walkers
Cancer walkers

RAMATLABAMA: The Botswana Cancer Association annual Lavender walk reached the south of Gaborone this year.

The 100km awareness walk held under the theme, ‘Everywhere is a walking distance if you have time’, started in Ramatlabama on Tuesday and will end in Gaborone on Saturday.

The five-day walk continued to Lobatse Wayside area yesterday where some patients shared their cancer testimonies with members of the public. The three cancer awareness activists, Sharon Monyoro, Neo Nkele and Acifa Moothosele, who have been taking part in the initiative since its inception will continue their campaign tomorrow when they make a stop in Otse. The trio will on Friday walk to Boatle and continue to the capital city.

The Lavender walk began in Francistown in 2013, and has since been based in the northern region with a mandate of availing cancer awareness and resources to people living in the northern Botswana. The ratifying campaign began with four walkers who marched the distance between Francistown and Bobonong in 2013.

The initiative saw an increase in the number of activists and participants in 2014, as eight walkers took part in the walk between Bobonong and Ramokgwebana.

But there was a slight drop as this year only three walkers took to the Ramatlabama-Gaborone challenge.

Monyoro however said that their intentions of maximising cancer awareness in Botswana are not deterred as the stakeholders are giving them the necessary support.

Monyoro also said that they had held a kgotla meeting in Ramatlabama on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, and community members had come in droves, which was encouraging.

“We later progressed to hold another Kgotla meeting in Pitsane on the same day, which saw a satisfactory attendance despite confusion of time.

The government through District Health Management Teams (DHMT) is helping us with health experts who conduct tests such as breast screening, blood pressure checks and offer counselling,” she said.

Monyoro added that they usually put themselves in the shoes of those affected by cancer, to gain a better understanding of their experiences and needs.

“We have heard many testimonies that cancer awareness is still lacking in our society. Many people know about cancer but the problem is that they think having cancer is the end of one’s life, which is a myth.

“We have also observed that there is a lot of stigma against cancer patients, we are trying to get people to know that cancer is a disease just like any other disease,” she said.

Monyoro noted that the Botswana Cancer Association is still faced with challenges of limited resources, despite volunteers’ efforts.

“We have few sponsors some who work with us on a voluntary basis, and offer their private vehicles and donate money. Kalahari Breweries and Senn foods for example provide us with beverages and food,” she said.

Monyoro added that their affiliates such as Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNET), Anti Tobbaco Botswana had come to the table to assist them.

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