October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a time to acknowledge the courageous battles of those who have fought breast cancer, celebrate those who have survived and remember those who lost their battle. It is also a time to be diligent in our self-examinations, schedule our mammogram appointments and remind others to do the same. October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month spotlights a disease that strikes more than 232,000 women a year, and as such the Cancer Association of Botswana (CAB) in association with Rail Park Mall continues to annually host a key event dubbed ‘Gaborone Stiletto Walk’. Now in its 11th year, this year’s ‘Gaborone Stiletto Walk’ slated for October 28, from 0630am to 1130am, is being hosted under the theme, “Big or Small, Save Them All”, and will see participants from all walks of life braving all odds and walking six kilometres on a pair of heels to raise funds for breast cancer awareness. “Get your prettiest, funkiest shoes and strut your stuff to raise funds and most importantly, show your support to those affected, to address concerns; including lack of awareness and understanding and bridging the gap between medical, psychosocial services for communities in remote areas. The International Breast Cancer Awareness Month creates a platform to enhance breast screening and further highlights the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, notwithstanding support for all affected. Cancer is not an individual problem but a community one,” said Pogiso Kgaile, Administration Secretary at Cancer Association of Botswana (CAB) this week. This year’s Stiletto Walk will be held at Rail Park Mall in Gaborone for the 11th year running and participants will walk approximately 6km, to and fro Rail Park Mall scheduled to start at 0630hrs. The guest walker and speaker is Specially Elected MP Bogolo Kenewendo. “The walk will be followed by a prize-giving ceremony and all are encouraged to wear heels to stand an opportunity to win some awesome prizes. All types of shoes accepted but a pair of heels puts you in the running for a worthy prize.”
Furthermore, Kgaile said, “Most people in Botswana think October is cancer month and pink is the colour for cancer, and everyone will want to know more about the cancer in the month of October. Breast Cancer is the third most common cancer in Botswana and second among women and about 17% of women in this country are likely to develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.” CAB noted that the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better chances of success. “Breast Self-Examination (BSE) and regular mammograms/ ultrasound for women and men over 40 years can find the disease early, when it is easier to treat. Yes, breast cancer also affect men. Therefore, we urge all men affected to speak up and share their stories, so as to motivate other men to be aware. In the year 2013, Rail Park approached CAB requesting to partner with us in the month of October to raise breast cancer awareness. It has been 5 good years that we have partnered with Rail Park mall. Rail park mall in these years was not just a venue sponsor to the event but have been partners towards planning this event. We have managed to reach more people courtesy of the mall’s footprint and for that we remain thankful,” Kgaile added. Rail Park Mall Centre Manager, Bonyana Masu, said the reason behind them hosting CAB is to help them spread the message behind the walk that is planned to sensitise the public on breast cancer and issues surrounding it. “We believe our mall is centralized, accessible and also has an added advantage of the masses than any other mall and CAB could take advantage of this platform through their stiletto walk event. It is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) where we do not only focus on our core business but to also avail our services towards helping those in need, in kind or otherwise,” said Masu adding that the marriage between them and CAB was inspired by the mere fact that participants walk for a cause. “As Rail Park Mall, we would like to be associated with events of this magnitude as we become stakeholders in the dissemination of breast cancer information. There is a lot that needs to be done, a lot of people are still left behind when it comes to cancer issues and our wish is to see this gap closed as the event grows bigger and better each year. People should expect lots of fitness activities, giveaways and breast cancer screening. Early detection is key to surviving breast cancer,” said Masu. Furthermore, Masu said that registration is ongoing at CAB main offices (Plot 5348 Ditlhakore Way, Ext 12: Gaborone) and Rail Park Mall for P150 for individuals, P50 for children and P1, 000 for a corporate team of 5.