Thursday, May 30, 2024

Breast Cancer Awareness campaign rides from Maun to Gaborone again

A group of local women, many of whom breast cancer survivors, have volunteered to embark on a journey from Maun to Gaborone on Pink Vespa scooters to spread Breast Cancer Awareness.

This ride is an annual event, with the route changing each year to ensure that the entire country will have access to this life-saving information. The Journey of Hope’s goal is to reach everyone in Botswana.

“In 2012 the Journey route will start in Maun on the 24th August and proceed through Rakops, Mopipi, Orapa, Letlhakane, Serowe, Mahalapye ending in Gaborone on the 31st August,” said Nicola Holgate, the Public Relations Officer at Hope of Journey.

Holgate said the riders are supported with vehicles, an ambulance, and a team of nurses. This group will give awareness talks and perform breast cancer exams along the way. Testimonial appearances, talks, breast examinations and awareness workshops are held in communities en route, spreading the message of hope about this highly treatable disease.

The riders say that during the journey, an average of one in 27 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The Journey of Hope Botswana was established in 2009 to bring breast cancer awareness to the communities of Botswana and to help with the treatment of Breast Cancer patients who lack medical or financial resources regardless of race, religion, creed, or nationality.

“In Botswana, particularly in the rural areas, many women die needlessly of breast cancer, simply due to a lack of information and awareness of the disease,” she said.

In 2010, Journey of Hope Botswana organised its first journey with twelve women riding pink Vespa’s, travelling from Maun to Gaborone via Francistown, stopping in villages and town centres to give awareness talks on breast cancer in the local communities.

In 2011, the route was from Gaborone to Maun via Ghanzi, and was a resounding success. Talks were held at 7 venues and breast exams were introduced. Over 1500 breast examinations were performed. Arising from these examinations a number of women were referred for further medical investigation.
Holgate said breast cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancers; with early detection, the survival rate is 95 percent. Early detection is a crucial part of the Journey of Hope message.

In addition to the Big Journey, she said various events are held throughout the year to further raise money for women in need and to ensure that the message of Breast Cancer awareness is never far from the minds of the people of Botswana.

Through this campaign the organisation aims to purchase an ambulance that will be able to function as an on-site ‘examination room’ in outlying areas as well as a support vehicle for the riders of the 12 pink Vespa motorcycles who have become the ‘face’ of Journey of Hope.

The Journey of Hope aims to empower the women of Botswana with the knowledge that breast cancer can be beaten if detected and treated early enough. They aim to also attend to outlying areas in Botswana.

Most cases of breast cancer are found by women noticing unusual changes, taking the initiative and visiting their doctor. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it.

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