Cancer awareness focus

THE Jamaica Cancer Society is optimistic that proceeds from this year’s All That’s Good Charity Run will provide enough money to boost efforts in raising awareness about cancer.

The 5K run/walk scheduled for May 21 will kick-off at the AC Hotel Kingston at 6:00 am and will target 1,000 participants of all age groups.

Speaking at this week’s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange, acting executive director of the Jamaica Cancer Society Michael Leslie said that with the organisation being this year’s beneficiary, there will be a good opportunity to promote screening tests and early detection of the disease.

“The Jamaica Cancer Society endorses this run because it not only gives us funds to assist programmes but it also gives and creates awareness,” said Leslie.

He pointed to alarming 2020 cancer statistics from the World Health Organization showing that more than 2.3 million women worldwide were diagnosed with breast cancer of which 685,000 died from the disease that year.

That same year Jamaica had approximately 1,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer, Leslie added.

“We think that if we have a system in place for screening, we can detect this thing very early — and early detection can save lives. We need money, yes, but we want to create the awareness for Jamaican women [and] men to be aware of lifestyle changes, because that’s very important,” said Leslie.

General manager at AC Hotel Koen Hietbrink, who also heads the 5K planning committee, said the Jamaica Cancer Society was selected as this year’s beneficiary due to the experience of having team members suffering from the illness.

“It was actually a situation within our group and within AC Hotel in particular — we had team members and have team members who are currently ill. These are people who are very dear to our hearts who are suffering from cancer,” said Hietbrink.

“I see first-hand the impact that it has on us as a team, their families, and I think the information surrounding it deserves so much more attention because there is so much more information out there that people tend to look past,” added Hietbrink.

Noting that the cancer fight is a team effort, Hietbrink said, “Cancer can happen to you but there are also things that you should be aware of. It was almost a no-brainer to contact the Jamaica Cancer Society.

“When you look at cancer in society, it is still in the top three causes of death in this country. It is a clear commitment of us to say, ‘Let’s be a part of this.’ When it comes to cancer there is no ‘us and them’, ‘you and us’; it is all of us,” Hietbrink said.

Jamaicans are being encouraged to participate in the event which has a registration fee of $2,000, with sponsorship packages also available.

Those wishing to participate in the run/walk may register at