Cancer is my hair-styler but God is my designer.
These touching words from former Miss Samoa and Miss South Pacific, Manamea Apelu-Schwalger, left very few dried eyes on Saturday night at Taumeasina Island Resort.
Manamea was speaking during the Premium Showcase of the inaugural Life Con Explosion. Think Pink, which is motivated by Manamea’s cancer battle, was one of key parts of the show.
Manamea, ever graceful and beautiful, said she could not thank all her supporters enough.
“I want to take this special opportunity to thank my team, especially this Life Con Think Pink initiative,” she said. “It means a lot to me.
“Words can’t explain your love...and generous support in so many ways. All I can say right now is to thank you very much.”
The Executive Officer of the Samoa Cancer Society (S.C.S), Shelley Burich, paid tribute to Manamea’s fighting spirit, which has given birth to such a platform to raise funds for the Samoa Cancer Society.
“Manamea, our cancer champion, we thank you for allowing your story to be told and shared,” Mrs. Burich said.
“Your fight to give back to those that continue to fight breast cancer is beyond selfless and your willingness to always lend a helping hand to the Cancer Society is humbling and valued. We thank you for being a strong voice.”
Mrs. Burich also acknowleged the Life-Con Think Pink theme “beyond treatment.”
“Civil society organisations such as ours require the continuous support and engagement of the local community and it allows us to keep our doors open and our services to continue,” she said.
“It also brings opportunities for partnerships and collaborations to form that enable strong advocacy and lobbying for change and improvement.
“There are Think Pink Foundations in many parts of the world who provide caring holistic support to patients, their families and their carers at any stage of their journey with breast cancer.”
Mrs. Burich reminded that cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide.
“Breast cancer accounts for over 500,000 deaths per year and for Samoa, breast cancer continues to be a leading cause of death for women with approximately 80% diagnosed at late stage when palliative treatment and home care is the only option left.
“The society registry at least 3-4 new breast cancer patients each month who come seeking advice and assistance.
She believes that the call for support requires everyone to understand that we can support cancer patients in different ways.
“Throughout advocacy and lobbying, providing the psychological, emotional and spiritual support and for many.
“It is the financial support needed, to either continue with ongoing, long term medical and palliative treatment or for the basic necessities to look after a loved one at home.
“Together we can make a huge difference.
She also thanked those created a spectacular platform to help raise breast cancer awareness.
“Heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Kevin, Vaito’a and the EMD LIFE-CON team, the Miss Samoa, Priscilla Olano and her fellow Life Con Ambassadors, the gorgeous former Miss Samoa, Maryjane, Janine, Verona, Cherie, Poinsettia, Anita, Saufaleupolu and Susana.
“We thank you immensely for supporting your sister and friend Manamea.”