Pinktober takes cancer fight to Savai’i

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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FACE OF CANCER AWARENESS: Manamea Apelu Schwalger with family and supporters during the Pinktober march.

FACE OF CANCER AWARENESS: Manamea Apelu Schwalger with family and supporters during the Pinktober march.

Cancer is a life changer, not just for the individual who has it, but for the whole family who walk with them into battle knowing their life hangs between a plan and a prayer. 

The community on the big Island of Savai’i is coming together in honour of those families who are weary from the relentless fight against this insidious disease.

Amoa Resort Savaii, in collaboration with the Samoa Cancer Society, Miss Samoa Alumni and E.M.D, will host a high tea fundraising event this Saturday, 21 October, in support of Pinktober and the Cancer Awareness Campaign happening around Samoa. 

Their aim is to make a difference to those families facing hardships as well as raise awareness among people of Savai’i about getting early cancer screenings as a preventative measure against cancer.  

In a statement to the Samoa Observer, Maluseu Doris Tulifau of the Samoa Cancer Society said: “If we talk about numbers in our registration data base, we have 15 cancer patients in Savaii from April this year, also late detection and a few have passed away."

“The Vave campaign slogan is “Vave iloa, vave vaai se fomai vave vili mai” which promotes early detection because cancer is curable if detected early.

“We only have one mammogram machine here in Apia to screen for breast cancer so we need people in Savaii, Manono and Apolima to come here for checkups and information,” Maluseu said. 

“National Health Service is doing free screening for breast cancer next week so it would be good to discuss that this weekend as well."

“Just imagine if it’s hard for us here to get people to come in, imagine people from Savai’i and the other islands to come here.”

The High Tea Fundraiser will feature speakers such as Dr. Nola Gidlow who is based in Savai’i and provides medical support to cancer patients and their families. 

A breast cancer survivor from Upolu and a grandfather who recently returned from Wellington to live in his ancestral home in Auala will also be among the speakers.  

In an email to the Samoa Observer, General Manager of Amoa Resort, Anita Jamieson-Cafferelli spoke of the urgency behind their community-based action. 

“Life on the big island is exactly as what the pictures paint, idyllic and pristine with happy and generous people,” she said. 

“We still work the land to be able to provide for our families and our people are proud of it but when an illness strike, our whole aiga including the extended family is affected.

The distance and isolation is indeed a barrier and access to medical services, support and awareness on the big island is paramount to saving lives among Savai’ians.” 

A circle of likeminded business owners and community leaders of Savaii know that while going alone moves one faster, it is the ability to go together that pushes everyone further and it is with this mindset that the High Tea Fundraiser was created so that “the people of Savaii could come together and understand what Pinktober stands for and share our stories." 

The business community has reciprocated well and so far we have been receiving pledges and people have welcomed the opportunity to be able to contribute for the cause. 

It’s only the first and we hope for many more Pinktober awareness events to happen in Savaii in years to come,” said Ms Jamieson Cafferelli.

How you can help: 

• Buy a ticket for yourself and friends and family. Get in the spirit and wear pink on the day, pink ribbons will also available with proceeds being donated to the Samoa Cancer Society 

• Make a contribution and pledge a donation. All pledges will be acknowledged on the day at the High Tea Fundraiser event 

• For businesses, we are also seeking giveaways that can be used at the fundraising event Please note tickets are limited so get in early. Contact Anita 7639191 or Lis 53518 / 762 0729 or email info@amoaresort.com to book or make your pledge. We hope to see you there.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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