OCHO RIOS, St Ann — More than $800,000 raised during the annual St Ann/St Mary breast cancer awareness pink run will be used to save lives. The cancer society will use the funds to pay for mammograms, Pap smears and prostrate exams for those who would not otherwise be able to access these services.
“This money means a great deal for the society. Without it nothing would be possible for these persons who are in need,” Marilyn Williams told the Jamaica Observer. She is manager of the region's cancer society and was also the also organiser of the 'Paint Ochi Pink' event held on November 21.
More than 100 people took to the streets of Ocho Rios, running from Ocean Village Plaza through the town and back. Among the participants were breast cancer survivors and those who were simply passionate about being part of the worthy cause.
“It was a fantastic day, we had four walk sessions throughout the day and there were more than 30 participants in each session. The fourth session was the best; we had about 50 persons,” said Williams. “There were three winners of each session and a little boy won the first session; we gave him a medal.”
The cancer society was forced to cancel the pink run last year due to COVID-19 restrictions but Williams said she was determined to make it possible this year.
“This year I decided to work very hard and get the ODPEM [Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management] to give us the go-ahead to run and it could not have been better. All the participants were happy to be there. They really wanted to be a part of the initiative that will be able to change a lot of lives and to be more involved in what is happening in the cancer society,” she shared.
The experience was also a memorable one for Jhenoy Griffiths, sponsorship and public relations executive at British Caribbean Insurance Company (BCIC), and his team. The insurance company was a gold sponsor for the event.
“It was a pleasure for us to assist, in whatever way we could, to help those that are fighting the battle and to honour those who, unfortunately, didn't make it. We always try to give back and assist the communities we operate in,” Griffiths told the Observer. “When the cancer society reached out to us it was an instant 'Yes' because we realise that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in Jamaica.”
Breast cancer, she added, has touched the life of one of their staff members.
Other sponsors who were a part of the event were Champion Supermarket, First Regional Credit Union and Irie FM.
“I want to thank all my sponsors because they came on board and did a lot for the society when we needed them the most,” Williams said.