Thousands of Barbadians and other residents of the island turned out Sunday to show their concern about the effect of cancer on persons and demonstrate their support for those suffering and for efforts at finding a remedy.
This is the sixth year of the annual ‘Walk for the Cure’ in which those living on the island are encouraged to put their money where their mouth is by paying a token amount to participate in this CIBC First Caribbean Bank-organised event that takes them through a number of streets on the outskirts of Bridgetown, the capital.
Supporters have been coming out for the past five years in the 17 Caribbean territories where the bank has operations, and each country determines what aspect of cancer affliction its walk will support.
“The efforts of these corporate partners coupled with the creative and tireless efforts of hundreds of CIBC FirstCaribbean employees who engage in diverse fundraising activities and events have propelled the fundraising from a modest $30,000 at the inception of the walk five years ago to the staggering $450,000 raised in 2017,” the bank stated, while indicating for the five years a total of $1.5 million was donated by walkers and corporate sponsors.
In Barbados the money raised goes towards hospice treatment for breast cancer patients and survivors.
“I want to salute the men who are here because for too long people thought breast cancer was a woman’s issue. It isn’t. It’s a people’s issue, men and women,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said to the reported 35,000 persons, all clad in pink, at the march which she called a ‘people’s movement’ that has caught on.
Mottley expanded her discussion from cancer to the scourge of non-communicable diseases that is sweeping Barbados, with the lifestyle disease, diabetes, in the lead accounting for almost 20 per cent of the population.
“How we live is how we die. There is no sense in me as Prime Minister helping you to get [free] education and health care for it to come to naught.
“I want each of us to recognise that however hard we work to make things easier for you in this country, it is up to you to keep yourselves healthy.”
She urged all in Barbados, who have not yet taken control of their health, to use the ‘Walk for the Cure’ 2018 as a starting point of a healthy lifestyle.
“I want you to make a pact, not with your parents, children, husbands or wives, but with yourselves because when you’re gone, you’re gone,” she said.