OCTOBER, internationally recognised as the breast cancer month, has been characterised by many events in line with ensuring awareness of the deadly disease, which is rapidly claiming lives. Accordingly, schools have had many activities as they make their mark in cancer awareness and its treatment.
BY VANESSA GONYE
A visit to Eaglesvale Preparatory School on a very hot October Wednesday afternoon proved different as minors at the school spent the day contented as they took time to contribute to a worthy cause.
Since five years back, the day has become an annual event and is on the school calendar and is known as ‘Pink Day’.
Here, it is when they get to wear most young girls’ favourite colour — pink — not for the fun of it, but in solidarity with those affected by breast cancer.
Breast cancer awareness is symbolised by the colour pink, hence ‘Pink Day’ which is commemorated by the school as they hand over whatever they would have raised in donations and fundraising activities for the whole month to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe.
“The month of October is an important one on our school calendar as we do fundraising and cancer awareness, particularly breast cancer which is emphasised in October. We also take the opportunity to make sure our children grow up aware of some situations like cancer, that may arise in their homes and how these can be dealt with,” said Michael Bvumbe, Eaglesvale Preparatory School head.
Bvumbe himself is a cancer survivor, thanks to early diagnosis hence the school’s serious concern on cancer and related illnesses.
“As a school, we emphasise on responsibility, being the ‘R’ on this year’s theme, so in teaching them about cancer and getting them involved, we would have instilled that sense of being responsible citizens and make sure they are always cautious about their health and that of others. It took responsibility for me to realise I had cancer at a very early and treatable stage,” he said.
The students are involved in various fundraising initiatives from the first of October until when they commemorate Pink Day. This year, they were buying pink ribbons, wrist bands and an assortment of goodies; they also collected money on Pink Day as they were in civic wear.
All proceeds from the activities are donated to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe and used to assist the underprivileged cancer patients in the country’s major hospitals.
Speaking at the handover of the $2 000 donation to her organisation by the school, Cancer Association of Zimbabwe general manager Junior Mavu thanked the school for its efforts in the fight against cancer, a cause which is proving difficult, given the country’s economic standing.
“The money will go a long way. We will use it to buy drugs for our underprivileged patients who cannot afford to pay for their treatment, while some goes to the free testing campaigns. I appreciate the gesture by the school, they always phone when October is approaching,” he said.
“They are giving quality values to the students; nurturing a culture of charity, if it starts this young, it will end up valuable and useful. The initiative is also empowering, they grow with the knowledge and awareness of cancer.”
Mavu gave the school a certificate as a token of appreciation for their efforts in the past five years.
Trust schools have been at the forefront in such initiatives, with their efforts not limited to cancer alone. Recently, Hellenic Academy, in partnership with Be the Light Foundation and some Zimbabweans living in the diaspora, handed a local clinic at a cholera epicentre with medical supplies to help ease effects of the disease.
Speaking at the handover of the goods at Glen View Poly Clinic, Be the Light Foundation projects co-ordinator, Leona Nyadombo said the initiative was not going to die a natural death and would not be limited to cholera, but other major ailments as well.
“We will continuously source and donate to more clinics in areas affected by cholera while we also source funds and supplies for diseases like diabetes, hypertension and asthma, among others, as these also need attention,” she said.
“Recently, pharmacies were charging drugs in United States dollars, which money is way out of reach for many patients, leaving them in a dilemma. We are going to do our best to help as many as we can, in partnership with the school,” Nyadombo said.
Hellenic Academy in partnership with the diaspora community, gave the clinic medical supplies, including latex gloves, syringes, bleach, canulas, bathing and washing soap, mineral water as well as theatre caps and linen savers.