· Breast cancer one of the leading cancer deaths in Botswana
· Diacore Gaborone Marathon unveils P300, 000 donation
Journey of Hope Botswana has launched the ‘Mo diatleng tsa gago’ (In your hands) breast cancer campaign where they are urging the public to take control of their lives by examining their breasts for early detection and treatment of breast cancer.
Despite cancer now being classified as a non-communicable disease alongside other diseases such as diabetes chronic respiratory diseases and heart diseases, in Botswana, breast and cervical cancers are the leading causes of cancer related deaths in women.
A scary but true statement from Journey of Hope Botswana Coordinator, Onica Lekuntwane during the launch of the ‘Mo Diatleng Tsa Gago’ (In your Hands) breast cancer awareness campaign this past week where she also announced the P300, 000.00 donation from Diacore Botswana Marathon.
Lekuntwane also premiered the television commercials to be aired on social media and local television broadcasters. The videos feature Batswana women who have either survived breast cancer or are fighting it. She said the generous donation will go a long way in ensuring that women who come from out of town to seek medical attention in Gaborone will get assistance from the organisation.
Diacore Botswana Managing Director, Kfir Teichman said the donation to Journey of Hope Botswana was one of the many that the Diacore Gaborone Marathon has done since its inception.
“All of the proceeds from the marathon have gone to charity. The last marathon made P1 300, 000.00 that was passed on to various charities across the country,” he said.
Speaking to the success of the marathon, which he also said was started to make Botswana a healthier nation, Teichman said the activity started with 2000 registered runners and has grown over the years to attract 8000 runners this year alone.
The next Diacore Gaborone Marathon is slated for May 3rd 2020.
The 41-year-old mother of four Betty Mbaembae, a breast cancer survivor and a member of the Fighters Support Group, spoke to The Patriot on Sunday about her cancer journey on the sidelines of the launch. She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in February 2017 and later started her 8 cycles of chemotherapy in June of the same year. “I went to the hospital after realising that my left breast would at times secrete a discharge,” she recalls, stating that she did not think much of it as the condition would reoccur and disappear for periods at a time.
She got concerned and went to see a doctor though she feared the prospect of getting diagnosed with breast cancer. “The whole time I thought of my little kids and wondered how they would survive without me in their lives,” she cringed at the memory of the thought.
Her journey to recovery saw her hair fall off and nail bed disintegrate, and a mastectomy of her left breast, all incidents she has since put behind her as she forges on to a cancer free future.
Betty, who was the first ever to get diagnosed with breast cancer in her family, was to later go through 17 cycles of Herciptine which she completed in May 2017.
“Early detection and screening is important in the fight against cancer and the ‘touch, look, check’ method helps in identifying potentially cancerous tissue at home,” she said.