Cancer survivors and volunteers from Asia Pacific gathered over the weekend to improve Relay for Life — the world’s largest fundraiser cancer walk.
Launched by U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdir, the Relay for Life Asia Pacific Summit 2017 included representatives from Malaysia, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, and Guam.
Relay for Life (RFL) is carried out in 5,200 communities throughout 20 countries. For 16 to 24 hours, patients, survivors, caregivers, families and friends ‘celebrate, remember and fight back’. Activities include taking turns to walk around a field track, a remembrance ceremony to those who lost the battle, and stage performances.
The Summit, held from November 2 to 4, aimed to enrich the ‘Relay’ experience through sharing sessions as well as training workshops on volunteerism, fundraising and event leadership.
Noting that cancer is a leading cause of death in Malaysia and the United States, Ambassador Lakhdhir said that she has been personally affected by cancer among friends and family, both in the United States and Malaysia.
She commended cancer society volunteers for their dedication and noted the “scope of what needs to be done to fight cancer: government advocacy, fundraising, new research, education and supporting each individual patient and family.”
RFL Malaysia, organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM), is held in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Melaka every year, said Chairperson of Relay for Life Malaysia Datuk Zuraidah Atan.
“The longest running Relay, Kuala Lumpur, had just celebrated its eleventh anniversary in September this year,” Dato’ Zuraidah said. “Over 11 years, RFL Kuala Lumpur has been joined by 23,000 participants, 4,000 survivors and 2,200 volunteers.
“Funds raised have went towards NCSM’s support programmes for survivors, education and outreach activities for the public, cancer and health screening services for the underprivileged, as well as free accommodation for children undergoing treatment and their families.”