Thousands of people around South Africa and the rest of the world have marked the end of cancer awareness month by joining the first Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer presented by the Eastern Cape Department of Health.
“Cancer knows no boundaries, and by going virtual we were able to spread awareness of the disease and to show support for those affected by cancer way beyond Nelson Mandela Bay, which has been the home of the event for the past 21 years,” says Algoa FM marketing manager Lesley Geyer.
People signed up for the event from as far afield as Australia, England, Scotland and Dubai.
Around South Africa, there were walkers in pink in the main centres of Cape Town, Durban, East London, Johannesburg and around 50 other towns and cities in South Africa.
The biggest support came from Nelson Mandela Bay, with walkers from 80 suburbs turning the metro pink.
“We exceeded the benchmark of attracting 40 per cent or more of the people who took part in the last physical event before Covid-19,” says Geyer.
“More than 5 500 people entered online for the virtual event and judging by the images that were shared there were thousands more who walked in celebration of those affected by cancer,” she adds.
“Most of those who joined the virtual walk from abroad have links with the Eastern Cape, which they maintain by tuning in to Algoa FM through audio streaming, engaging with us in social media pages and visiting the website,” says Algoa FM managing director Alfie Jay.
“The success of our first Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer puts us in a stronger position to connect with our audience and help our clients stage a myriad of virtual events. Lessons have been learned and we will continue raising the bar,” he adds.
Schools supported the Big Walk by encouraging their pupils and parents to enter.
“It is so important for us all to raise awareness about cancer, as it certainly has or sadly will impact our lives in some shape or form if not already,” says Alex Hall, headmaster of St George’s Preparatory School.
The school arranged walks in the week leading up to Saturday, October 31.
“To raise awareness and some money in a bright and positive manner is such a privilege and a wonderful event that we are very proud to support. Thank you MTN and Algoa FM for allowing us to be part of this special day, he adds”.
“This is the biggest walking/running event in the Eastern Cape,” says Rudi van Tonder, Chairman of the Elite Athletics Club, which has handled the logistics for the walk since inception.
“We are humbled to be part of an event that is bigger than any of us. When visiting the cancer ward at the Provincial Hospital, we saw the difference we are making by supporting Igazi Foundation, which is the 2020 beneficiary,” he says.
“The Igazi Foundation is humbled to have been chosen to be the benefactor of the first Virtual Algoa FM Virtual Big Walk for Cancer. To have the support of Algoa FM and the public, walking on behalf of cancer patients is a show of love and support desperately needed in these times of social distancing,” says Cole Cameron, Chief Executive Officer of the Igazi Foundation.
Corporates in the Eastern Cape added their support.
“Isuzu Motors South Africa is very proud to once again serve as the vehicle partner for Algoa FM’s Big Walk for Cancer,” says Denise van Huyssteen, corporate affairs executive at ISUZU Motors SA.
“This initiative is particularly important during these unprecedented times of Covid-19 which has literally dominated all spheres of life.
“We should not forget about the many lives which cancer continues to impact upon and the ongoing need to raise awareness around the prevention and detection of cancer,” she adds.
“It is also heartening to see that all the major corporate and provincial partners put their trust and support behind the virtual event, as did the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality,” says Jay.
The Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer was followed by a virtual show featuring South African musicians Gino Lee, Stuart Reece and Dr Victor & the Rasta Rebels.
“As a South African musician, I am very honoured and grateful to be a part of the Virtual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer and to help raise awareness for cancer,” says Dr Victor.
“I’m proud to be able to say that of the songs I streamed from my home studio on 31 October, two climbed to the Number One Spot on The Algoa FM top 30,” says Reece.