The ‘Relay for Life’ event to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones who have struggled with the disease, and to fight against cancer attracted over 3,000 people to the official opening at the Youth Park.
Wawasan Open University (WOU) gave its support for the fourth consecutive year as a gold sponsor and by sending a team comprising of about 20 WOU staff to participate in the walkabout to promote cancer awareness.
The ceremony kicked off after 6pm with Penang Hospice Society chairman Datuk Dr Chan Kok Ewe as torch-bearer jogging towards the front of the field to place the torch of hope. He also accompanied Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on his arrival to place the second torch.
National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) Penang branch chairman Dato’ William Ng Jit Thye, in his welcome address, said that the sixth edition of Relay for Life had its soft launch in January at the Hard Rock Hotel.
He declared that one of the key messages is that ‘cancer can be cured’, stating that over 100 survivors are here today celebrating survivorship. He also informed that 370 teams representing 2,338 people as well as 150 individuals registered for the event this year.
He went on to thank IJM Land for coming in as the new super gold sponsor and WOU for its continuous support.
Meanwhile in officially opening the event, Lim shared that one in three people in Penang will be at risk to cancer by 2020. He paid tribute to the survivors “for their sterling example of courage, determination and resilience in fighting cancer”.
He called for early detection, healthy lifestyle, good diet and ‘no smoking’ to reduce the risk of cancer, and also of heart diseases and diabetes. “If everybody stops smoking, we can reduce cancer by 30%,” he added.
Following the launch, Lim together with Dr Chan joined the survivors in the first lap around the field. The other participating teams subsequently carried banners and streamers as they did the walkabout led by the survivors.
There were games, live entertainment, body combat demonstration, exhibitions, free health screening, face paintings, and lucky draws throughout by the Penang Hospital, Penang Adventist Hospital, DISTED College, Celebrity Fitness and the others.
The 16-hour relay organised by NCSM Penang branch and Penang Hospice Society culminated with the closing the next morning by Phee Boon Poh, Penang State Executive Councillor for Health and Welfare, Caring Society and Environment.