October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and you can help raise awareness and funds by shopping at Watsons.
Contributed By Theresa Tan
As some of you are reading this, thousands of participants are gathering at the Waterfront at Marina Bay for the Watsons Pink Ribbon Walk. They will traverse a 3.8 km route in support of breast cancer awareness.
The walk on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. takes participants past key attractions around Marina Bay including the Art Science Museum, the Floating Platform, Merlion Park, and The Promontory. This is also the event that launches Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Singapore.
This is possibly the third Pink Ribbon Walk BCF has held in its 13-year history. “Since BCF first started, the key launch for Breast Cancer Awareness Month has taken on several forms: a vehicle rally, a car rally, a run and now a walk,” says Noor Quek, president of the Breast Cancer Foundation. “The walk has been on and off, but [this year it is] bigger and better, and caters for as broad a sector of society as is possible. Walking also allows for older people, children and less fit individuals to participate at their pace. An evening walk makes it even more fun and manageable, as they can enjoy the skyline at sunset. This year, a carnival and some fun events like an auction of Dell computers, Zumba and the Pink Gloves Dance will add to the festivities.”
Quek notes that this year’s walk has garnered greater support from families and corporations, “men, women and children, rather than groups of young people. It seems to be seen as a good, healthy way to bond, and for a good cause.”
Also, health and beauty retailer Watsons has adopted BCF as its official charity for the second year running. Watsons has an admirable target of raising S$100,000 this year for the foundation through three avenues: the Watsons Pink Ribbon Walk, the selling of BCF pink ribbon pins and the giveaway of BCF Breast Books, and the Watsons’ Pink Shelves Program, which launched on Sep. 22 and will go on till Nov. 16.
Cathy Yeap, managing director of Watsons Personal Care Stores, tells City News why this cause. “According to the Singapore Cancer Registry Interim Report 2005-2009, breast cancer remains the number one cancer killer among women in Singapore. On average, approximately 1,492 women are diagnosed with the disease annually, with at least 354 lives claimed every year. With the increase of breast cancer cases in Singapore, Watsons strongly believes in promoting the cause of protection and prevention against this disease.
“Through its 105 Watsons Personal Care Stores, Watsons would like to reach out to its more than a million customers that visit the stores each month, most of them women—including its 400,000-strong card membership database—to help raise awareness of breast cancer. With an increasing presence and involvement in the healthcare industry with 30 pharmacy outlets and more in the pipeline, Watsons also aims to take a greater step towards health initiatives by supporting BCF.”
The Pink Shelves program, which runs in 40 Watsons stores islandwide, has four partners: Brands, Johnsons & Johnson, L.D. Waxon and Procter & Gamble. Participating products range from vitamins and bird’s nest to shampoo and facial care items. For every product sold, S$0.10 will go to BCF.
The monies raised will go towards funding awareness activities, “in particular, counseling training sessions, support and volunteer services to in- and out-bound breast cancer patients as referred by hospitals, and outreach via various forms of media. The money raised will also fund activities for support programs,” explains Quek, adding that the Pink Ribbon Walk, as a support program, has been paying off in greater ways.
“Looking at the increasing number of participants … it would appear than more people are beginning to appreciate the fact that early detection can save lives and breasts. [The Walk is] a nice, non-fearful way to pass a serious but hopeful message to a wide audience.”
“Watsons hopes that the funds raised will provide BCF programmes the means and expertise to help patients and even survivors to cope with the tough times they are going through,” adds Yeap.