E mua’i faafo’i le vi’iga ma le fa’ane’etaga i le Atua Le Tama, Le Atua le Alo, Le Atua le Agaga Sa i lona alofa ma lona agalelei tula’i. Ua na ta’ita’i mai ma le manuia lo outou soifua ma so matou ola i le si’ui o le masina o Oke- topa aemaise polokalame fa’alauiloa sa feagai ai le Sosaiete o le Kanesa.
The Samoa Cancer Society (SCS) would like to say Fa’afetai, Fa’afetai, Fa’afetai tele lava, Samoa! Malo lava everyone! All sectors of our society got involved in raising awareness about breast cancer this year, from Govern- ment, to individuals, to the business sector. Together, we raised over $40,000ST for the SCS, an enormous contribution that allows us to continue to support and provide services for cancer patients, as well as the continuation of our outreach and education workshops. We couldn’t continue the work we do without your support!
Thank you to the Honourable Prime M i n is ter Tu i laepa Lu pes ol iai D r . Sailele Malielegaoi and Government Ministries that made it possible for us to light up our national monument, the Town Clock, pink – with the LED lights formed in the shape of pink ribbons, a ﬁrst for Samoa and we believe in the whole Paciﬁc region! To have such an iconic monument represent the Can- cer Society’s advocacy call for breast cancer awareness is a true reﬂection of our country’s commitment to improv- ing cancer services and the health of its citizens. This support was further reiterated with the Public Service Com- mission sanctioning October 1st & 25th for public servants to wear pink attire or pink ribbon.
We are extremely grateful to our Patron and Minister of Health, Honor- able Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, Director General and the Ministry of Health– for their contribution in helping to spread cancer awareness. We are grateful for the partnership which continues to grow in strength from year to year.
The impact of awareness and promo- tion of women’s health during October each year is evident in the high number recorded by the SCS on the services it provided for the month of October. The number of phone call enquiries about breast cancer symptoms tripled compared to the previous month with increased enquiries also noted on face- book messenger. The number of educa- tion and awareness outreaches to com- munity and workplaces increased from 6 in 2018 to 11 this year, with more businesses involved in initiating aware- ness within their respective workplaces, thanks to the leadership of owners, directors and CEOs. Patient referrals in 2018 totalled 91 yet 93 have already been referred to the Society since the beginning of 2019. Our patient sup- port service and home visits continues weekly to provide the non-clinical care that is needed. It gave the SCS Team great cheer to be able to bring some of our cancer survivors and caregivers to- gether and fellowship over breakfast in the presence of friends and supporters of the Society. We are grateful to the owners of Return to Paradise Jim and Afamasaga Ramona Gilchrist herself a breast cancer survivor who made it possible with their sponsorship of this special event.
It has been 2 years since the last Pink- tober March was held on the streets of Apia and with the Society taking the lead to initiate a call to action for the community to rise and be vigilant when it comes to cancer awareness, the Pink- tober March was once again reignited for this purpose in partnership with the Samoa Tourism Authority.
While the pinktober activities rolled out awareness locally, the SCS was also being represented at the interna- tional level with the attendance of CEO Shelley Burich at the Union for Inter- national Cancer Control (UICC) World Cancer Leaders’ Summit and Treat- ment for all Campaign Workshop, held in Nur-Sultan Kazakhstan. A UICC ca- pacity building initiative that provides support to members in low and middle income countries to work collaboratively with governments and raise the proﬁle of cancer through effective advocacy. Samoa is one of 17 country champions selected for these workshops and men- tor sessions.
At the American Samoa Cancer Coalition’s annual symposium called INSPIRE that aims to establish capac- ity and resources essential to conduct scientiﬁc research. SCS Representative Verona Parker also presented on the work of the Society. She highlighted key partnerships that have enabled a num- ber of researches to be conducted for SCS that builds information resources to be accessible by all.
The Samoan Community both in New Zealand and Australia also felt the Pinktober Awareness vibe with the amazing and creative work of the direc- tors Frederick and MaryJane McKibbin Schwenke of Matavai Cultural Arts Group from Australia. They took it upon themselves to fundraise, coordinate, travel and display an array of island performances by more than 60 dancers and supporters in New Zealand to fundraise $ST11,000.00 for the Samoa Cancer Society and $TP10,000.00 for the Tonga Breast Cancer Society. It was to also honour the late Manamea Apelu Schwalger who advocated strongly for women’s health and breast cancer awareness. The Society’s appreciation was expressed at the event by board member Tauiliili Alise Stunennberg.
We thank all the media who were involved with Pinktober including the social media platform, for the extensive media coverage.
Thank you to all the local businesses and government agencies that found creative ways to personalise the Pink- tober message, hosting their own fund- raising events, inviting us to do out- reach sessions, and encouraging their employees to get checked.
We couldn’t have done it without you, Samoa! You helped us spread our mes- sage: Vave iloa, Vave va’ai se foma’i, Vave vili mai, and by doing this, you have helped save lives!
It is impossible to name each and ev- ery person, organisation and business that contributed to the great success of Pinktober 2019, but please know that all your contributions whether it was a voluntary service, advocating, prizes, monetary or in-kind donations – all had a major impact on this year’s Pinktober Campaign.
Our humble and deep gratitude to you all – Samoa Cancer Society Executive Board, Management and Staff.