Flower planting campaign for cancer awareness
The Samoa Cancer Society (S.C.S.) has begun an 80-day count down to Sei Pua Day with a campaign inviting the public to plant a frangipani flower in dedication to a loved one with cancer.
The S.C.S. told the Samoa Observer that the countdown initiative was designed to raise awareness about cancer's widespread effects within the community.
Sei Pua Day is an annual event for promoting cancer awareness in Samoa. Other cancer societies across the world have similarly flower-themed occasions such as Australia (which celebrates 'Daffodil Day') to honour those lost to any form of cancer.
The S.C.S. campaign - titled “Plant a Sei Pua-80 Days Countdown” - invites the community to not only pot a pua (frangipani) plant and either dedicate it to a loved one with cancer or donate it to the S.C.S. to be sold on Sei Pua Day which falls on Friday, August 27 this year.
Society staff and volunteers kick-started the campaign with a pua planting day earlier this week on which they managed to pot 80 new flowers outside of the S.C.S.' Motootua office.
All donated pua pot plants will be sold on Sei Pua Day on 27 August with all proceeds going to fund the society's ongoing work.
In a telephone interview with the Samoa Observer on Saturday morning, the S.C.S.' Chief Executive Officer, Su'a John Ryan, said Sei Pua Day is about shining a light on all types of cancer.
He explained that they decided to start its campaign for the event early this year.
In the days leading up to the event, the C.E.O. has invited the public to plant a Sei Pua tree, explaining that if you can plant a tree every day it will be beneficial to the environment.
Su'a stated that it is a way to try and engage the community to show support for those who are suffering from cancer and for families that are providing support for those patients.
The event started less than a week ago and Su'a explained that the feedback has been fantastic, saying that they have received messages of support.
Manufactured Sei Puas are sold on Sei Pua Day but Su'a hopes that there will be more people wearing the fresh sei puas.
All the proceeds from Sei Pua day will go into the operational costs for the S.C.S to provide awareness campaign and with their advocacy work.
He added that Sei Pua Day will also be a day for the community to re-engage with the S.C.S.
The campaign is a new addition to the society's annual fundraiser schedule with the aim of actively engaging the local community to support the S.C.S. and, by extension, those affected by cancer.
The S.C.S. is also seeking to complement the countdown with an online campaign encouraging individuals to post images of themselves with their pot pua plant and a sei of their chosen pua and tag the society.
Social media users are encouraged to post pictures of their flowers that can be labeled with the hashtags #growhopetogether #seipuaday2021 and #samoacancersociety.
The pua flower is in wide use as a daily fashion accessory for all occasions across Samoa and known for its alluring fragrance.
Many have opted to use for the readily available artificial flowers.
For real plantations, the society is encouraging the use of recyclable plastic bottles and containers to house the flowers to minimise the campaign's environmental impact.