By Rudo Muchedzi
Zimpapers, in partnership with Island Hospice and Healthcare, is inviting Zimbabweans from all walks of life to this year’s edition of the Annual Cancer Power Walk scheduled to take place concurrently in Harare, Bulawayo, Kariba and Mutare this Saturday.
The initiative, which traditionally features a five-kilometre walk, will this year include a 10km run in Harare, with the first three runners getting free accommodation and meal vouchers courtesy of Cresta Hotels.
Participants will have a Zumba session afterwards and a chance to undergo health checks which will include HIV tests, breast examinations and blood pressure and diabetes checks from service providers on site.
In Harare, the event will take place at Old Hararians Sports Club, while in Mutare it will be at Manicaland Motoring Club. In Kariba the event will be at Nyamhunga Primary School, while in Bulawayo it will be at Coghlan Primary School.
Zimpapers group public relations and corporate communications manager, Ms Beatrice Tonhodzayi, said the walk sought to raise awareness about cancer.
She said cancer has become a cause for concern, with most deaths that are occurring being linked to the disease.
In 2015, Zimpapers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Island Hospice which saw the group providing space across its platforms; radio and newspapers, to cancer and health issues.
While traditionally Zimbabweans had become familiar with cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and karposi sarcoma, people are succumbing to pancreatic cancer, cancer of the colon, rectal cancer and many others.
“We, therefore, realised there was need for people to be aware of this new threat,” said Ms Tonhodzayi. “Cancers and other non-communicable diseases known as lifestyle diseases have become a real issue.
“What we eat, how we look after our bodies are now big issues. We need to live healthy lifestyles and to exercise and that is how this whole partnership was entered into.”
Ms Tonhodzayi said the introduction of the run was in line with the fitness and living healthy mantra.
“We are calling on runners to sign up for this cause,” she said. “But now you get to run not just for your health and fitness, but for the cause as well.”
“We have all been affected by cancer in one way or another. Relatives and loved ones are dying all around us. We even have colleagues being diagnosed with cancer all around us. There are stories of fighting cancer and stories of surviving which can inspire many others. We cannot afford not to be concerned.
“I especially like the ‘I am and I will’ theme, which calls us to action. I am walking on Saturday for cancer and am challenging every Zimbabwean who can make their way to Kariba, Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare to do the same.”
Registration is already underway, with participants paying $40 for the walk and $100 for the run. Participants can also get a pink cancer bandana for $20.
Proceeds from the walk will be donated to Island Hospice and Healthcare.
Sponsors for the Annual Cancer Power Walk include: the Chinese Embassy, Medirite Healthcare, Fusertech, B&P, Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, Premier Services Medical Aid Society, Ekhaya Travel, Econet Wireless, Tin Mac Motors, Manicaland Motoring Club, Manica Boards and Doors, Tanganda, National Aids Council, Checkup Health, Cresta Hotels, Ace Ambulance, Ambulance Care and Evacution, Bantuart, Zorro, Zambezi River Authority, Lake Harvest, Agribank, Choppies, Audio Connect, Kariba Municipality, Bantu Art and Devine Pharmacy.