Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President (VCP), USP at the Pinktober morning tea.
The Association of The University of the South Pacific Staff (AUSPS) Women’s Wing hosted a Pinktober Morning Tea event on 30th October 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.
AUSPS Women’s Wing, which was formed on 21st August 2018 to address women-related issues in the workplace at USP.
USP staff members and Breast Cancer survivors shared their experiences about living with and undergoing treatment for cancer. AUSPS Women’s Wing also extended appreciation to the staffs for donating towards the morning tea.
Alanieta Lesuma-Fatiaki, an Executive of the AUSPS Women’s Wing said that the 2019 Pinktober Tea has been a USP family initiative with the ground works carried out by AUSPS Women’s Wing coordinating and seeking out donations from sections within the University.
“We acknowledge FALE, ITS, Finance, SPAC, HR, CFL, SDGIA-FBE, SGESE-FSTE, SBCS, FSTE, PTAFE and the Library for their kind donations. In addition, external donation was given by NESCAFE and guidance and support provided by friends of the Fiji Cancer Society,” she said.
Ms. Fatiaki added that The Pinktober Tea is an event that not only is geared towards raising the much needed funds for Fiji Cancer Society but more importantly to raise awareness of breast cancer through the cancer survivor testimonies for the USP community and was an opportunity to reiterate support and encouragement for staff who are undergoing treatment at this time.
Also speaking at the event, Dr. Ilaitia Delasau, Colonial War Memorial Hospital General Surgeon encouraged women and men to be aware of their body because it is the only screening programme available in Fiji to help detect breast cancer.
He said that early screening can help deal with cancer as triple assessments will be done which includes clinical, radiological and pathological.
He recommended people to examine themselves regularly and avoid traditional medicines to cure Breast Cancer.
“It’s important for them to understand that early referral is necessary. Some patients used traditional medicines and then sought medical help when they were on their last stage,” said Dr. Delasau.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President, USP commended the initiative and reflected on a personal experience about the impact cancer had on a close family member.
He said that the University wants to make sure that our colleagues going through such a traumatic experience have full support.
“We are there not only to support them but make sure we are creating a positive environment for them so that they don’t feel alone in the fight against Breast Cancer. I hope that we continue with the spirit of being supportive. Today is all about recognising the struggle all our colleagues who have been through and for those who have come through it,” said Professor Ahluwalia.
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