A record crowd of nearly 13 200 walked in celebration with cancer survivors and all those affected by cancer at the annual Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer presented by the Eastern Cape Department of Health on Saturday.
Funds raised by the biggest mass participation charity event in the Eastern Cape will go towards purchasing a passenger transport vehicle for the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) Eastern Cape.
“The vibe at this year’s event is a wonderful testament to a civil society determined to find common ground and integrate socially,” said Algoa FM managing director Alfie Jay.
“Our loyal audience has once again proven that they stand as one to celebrate every step and contribute towards humanity.
“Through the Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer, we have brought various corporate businesses, government, NGOs and the people of Algoa country together, and I am extremely grateful for the ongoing support,” he said.
The benefits stretch beyond the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.
Examinations using a Fotofinder mole analyser purchased for Cansa in 2018 with the funds raised have found that at least one in 20 people in the Eastern Cape is at risk of developing skin cancer, according to Gavin Kester, divisional manager of Cansa Eastern Cape.
The passenger transport vehicle to be purchased this year will be used to take patients to treatment centres in Port Elizabeth.
Many of the patients stay at the Cansa facilities because they come from out of town.
Most do not have transport, according to Kester.
The 2019 event was held in perfect weather, with a light breeze and partially overcast skies.
Leading the walkers were the two 2019 ambassadors, Xylon van Eyck and Dr Lesley Lee, both of whom celebrated their own steps and victories against cancer.
Dr Lee, who is a divisional head at Volkswagen South Africa in Uitenhage, lost her right leg to a rare form of cancer when she was in grade 11. Undeterred, she continued to study and today holds a PhD in change management.
TV presenter, sports promoter and keen cyclist, Van Eyck grew up in Booysens Park, Port Elizabeth. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 26, and has been in remission since 2014.
In the run-up to the event, the Eastern Cape Department of health held free screenings and information days in Maclear, Peddie and Graaff-Reinet.