Apia’s iconic clock tower returned to its original shade last night signifying the official end to the Pinktober Campaign to raise breast Cancer Awareness and Advocacy.
A month earlier, the Town Clock for the first time in history, received a glamourous pink paint makeover at the behest of the Miss Samoa Alumni, a sorority of influential women who know how to harness a woman’s power to network, organize and to implement – all while their nail polish is drying.
Manamea Apelu Schwalger was present as the workers painted over the bright pink we had grown accustomed to seeing after its unveiling at the beginning of October.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Manamea had mixed emotions after such an eventful and successful campaign,
“Putting the clock back to its original colour, I feel at a loss for words,” she said.
“But it got the big impact that we wanted to strike up the conversations about cancer – not just breast cancer. It brought forth our Vave campaign and it didn’t stall and it was a collective effort where every facet of the community came together.”
Indeed during Pinktober, we saw Samoa at its best with an all hands on deck attitude. Community leaders, private and public sector come together to raise money and awareness around the gaps that still exist in Samoa’s response to cancer prevention and palliative care.
While the clocktower in all its pink glory was transferred back to white in much the same way we pack our Christmas trees after the festive season.
What we know from the countless fundraisers and stories we heard from cancer survivors and those still battling this disease is that ‘awareness’ is only the beginning and the outcome from Pinktober is now a call to action “to do what is tangible.”
“We now know that awareness is just the beginning and as our clocktower returns to white, manameas message of “doing what is tangible” comes to mind as we are now called to action on the knowledge we have.
“The way forward is, now that we have addressed awareness let’s look at healthy living, let’s look at wellness and healing a nation. If we can roar pink, we can roar wellness."
“We can look at our approach to healthy living and like Maryjane Mckibbon said to me the other day, maybe it’s too late to change the mindset of our older generation but we can look at our younger generation and getting them to be proactive in their health."
“We’ve called out to government to empower their doctors, look to specialists if possible and empower our young students as well."
“We’ve said to the business community, look we want to make this an annual event – please paint Samoa pink every year if possible. The vibrancy of the colour pink is to remind people that we are talking about cancer so that it reduces the fear of cancer.”