AUSPS Women’s Wing executive committee – From left: Komal Karishma, Interim Secretary; Alanieta Lesuma-Fatiaki, Executive Member Rosalia Fatiaki, ; Interim President; Executive Member Geraldine Panapasa and Interim Treasurer Sujlesh Sharma. Picture: AUSPS Women’s Wing.
The newly-formed Association of The University of the South Pacific Staff (AUSPS) Women’s Wing hosted a Pinktober Morning Tea event today at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies on Laucala campus in an effort to create awareness about breast cancer during the month of October and support the important role of Fiji Cancer Society.
The AUSPS Women’s Wing, which was formed on August 21 this year to address women-related issues in the workplace at USP, handed over a cheque of $2,500 as donations raised from the Pinktober Morning Tea event to Fiji Cancer Society representative and cancer survivor, Ms Olive Zoing.
AUSPS Women’s Wing interim president Rosalia Fatiaki said this was the first activity for the group since its formation and a timely one considering the huge effort by stakeholders to raise awareness around prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer.
“Recent statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the prevalence of breast cancer among women the world over are alarming – it impacts as many as 2.1 million women each year,” Ms Fatiaki said.
“The World Health estimates that more than 620,000 women have died from breast cancer up until this year. In Fiji, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services point to as many as 200 breast cancer cases every year, the youngest victim we’re told through media reports was a 17-year-old.
“What does this tell us? It tells us we need to take these awareness campaigns seriously. We need to take heed of the advice from the ministry, from WHO, from medical experts. It is a non-communicable disease, which means lifestyle changes are vital in the fight against diseases such as cancer. And one of the most crucial ways to improve on breast cancer outcomes and survival, according to WHO, is early detection.”
Ms Fatiaki said all contributions made towards this event would be given to the Fiji Cancer Society to support its programmes.
In a statement, Fiji Cancer Society said it was very appreciative and grateful for the kind and generous support from the public and corporate sectors in hosting Pinktober Morning Tea events and requesting screenings to be carried out in the workplace.
“The Fiji Cancer Society’s signature Awareness and Fundraising month of October – universally dubbed Pinktober, is almost coming to a close for 2018,” the Society said.
“On behalf of our Trustees, the Board, our CEO and Staff, as well as ALL our Patients and Survivors and their families – we would like to sincerely thank our partners for their kind and very generous support, and that this donation goes a long way, in making our patients and survivors’ journey, a little more bearable.”
USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Student Services, Professor Richard Coll, commended the initiative and reflected on a personal experience about the impact cancer had on a close family member.
USP staff members also shared their experiences about living with and undergoing treatment for cancer. The AUSPS Women’s Wing also extended appreciation to sponsors - Association of USP Staff (AUSPS), Faculty of Arts, Law & Education, Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies, Centre for Flexible Learning, Pacific TAFE: Cookery & Hospitality team and Govinda’ s Vegetarian Restaurant.
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