GBTI and Impressions today teamed up to transform the I Love Guyana Park in Kingston, Georgetown into a Breast Cancer Awareness Site with the launch of a Hope Message Board.
The Board bearing messages promoting hope for a cure, support and encouragement for those fighting cancer and the call for healthy lifestyles and self-love will remain for the rest of the month.
Staff of GBTI and Impressions along with Adviser to the Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy affixed their messages. Members of the public are encouraged to add their messages to the board.
Globally, October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and according to statistics Guyana ranks highest in the Caribbean with a cancer incident rate of 46.9 % and a mortality rate of 21 per 100,000 persons.
Impressions, Marketing Manager Debbie Persaud, said the numbers influenced today’s event and not only stand to heighten awareness but show support to those affected.
“Today our bright pink attire represents a hope for survival, and the number of lives
survived from cancer. So let us continue to use our influence to foster awareness for
early detection so together we CAN give hope and save lives,” she said.
“Our collective goal today through private/public partnership is therefore for all of us to ensure that there is adequate education and sensitization so that fewer people develop cancer, more people are successfully treated, and that there is a better quality of life for people during their treatment and beyond,” she added.
Meanwhile Mr. Richard Isava, Managing Director of Guyana Americas Merchant Bank, and a Director on the GBTI Board of Directors, himself a Leukemia survivor, said the topic is very close to his heart having come from a family, many of whom were cancer patients.
“One of the most important thing is a healthy lifestyle. It’s unfortunate that I waited until I am 55 to start eating healthy and living a more healthy lifestyle –thanks to GBTI we started a wellness programme with a dedicated trainer that comes to us four days a week. I encourage more of my colleagues to join the programme and don’t do like me…” he urged.
“If there is one thing that makes your body less hospitable to cancer cells it’s healthy eating and regular exercise,” Isava said of his own experience, referencing the support and care of family, friends and colleagues, which go a far way.
He said GBTI is proud to be part of this initiative to promote cancer awareness encouraged everyone to join the fight including more corporate entities.
Dr Ramsammy reminded that while Breast Cancer is a killer, it does not have to be.
“We can help by preventative measures and by healthy lifestyles,” he said noting the dangers of tobacco and similar substances.
According to him there are currently about 700 cases of cancer in Guyana – breast Cancer being the highest, reflective of the global trend.
The government cannot fight cancer alone, he said, it has to be a partnership and lauded the effort of GBTI and Impressions. “Today we are not alone in this fight which is a good sign, he said noting that there are still gaps to be filled but pointed out several initiatives the MOH and the government are looking at to ensure there is greater awareness, access and care.