There was a sea of pink at the 16th annual Barbados Breast Screening Programme National Walk For The Cure held on Sunday.
The walk attracted over 35,000 persons and even animals all outfitted in pink who ran and walked from Warrens to the Dome Mall car park for a fun music and exercise wind down session.
In her brief remarks, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley told the thousands gathered that she appreciates them starting a people’s movement for breast cancer awareness.
“I do not know what to say. This is an example of a people’s movement. Last year and the year before, we watched as you determined that this matters to you. It was not governments, it was not institutions, it was the people. You, by your attendance here, you by the donning of your pink shirt, you by the donning of the pink ribbon, the badges [and] all the other things that, year after year, have been done to bring attention,” Mottley said, adding that she would like to salute the men who walked for the cure stating that for too long persons believed that breast cancer was a strictly female issue.
Mottley also thanked Dr Shirley Jhagaroo who is the Medical Coordinator for the Barbados Breast Screening Programme for her stellar work in ensuring that persons are aware that they are responsible for their bodies.
“I also want to thank those who have been at the vanguard. Dr Jhagaroo, come forward and there are others. I look across at the Diabetes Centre from where I stand and I look at others like Dr Ferdinand; I think of Dorothy Cooke-Johnson; I think of all the people who long before it was fashionable to be able to come out and cause people to become aware that your body is your responsibility. These people without pay, and sometimes without recognition, have carried the flag such that it has caught off and sparked the people’s movement that you see here at Warrens. So, thank you, your work was not in vain,” she said.
Mottley also noted that it made no sense that she is fighting to bring more money to the country while persons are engaging in unhealthy habits.
“We have control and it makes no sense one working hard as Minister of Finance to make money available to put you through school, to put you at university, to make sure that you can go to the polyclinic when you have bad feels. Something happens to you and all of this investment comes to nothing because, like me, you smoke, or you used to smoke. Like me, you have a little more weight you need to get through on. Or you like drinking too much or you’re doing things that the old people would tell you, you need balance. We need balance in our lives,” Mottley said.
In closing, the Prime Minister said she was walking on behalf of Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw who recently disclosed that she was battling breast cancer.
Dr Shirley Jhagaroo said breast cancer is no respecter of a person’s status.
“There could never be too much awareness of a disease like breast cancer which is the most common cause of deaths from cancer amongst women in our country,” Jhagaroo said, adding that with increasing numbers of breast cancer cases being diagnosed, it is critical that persons are aware of their disease.
“We have 6-7 cases being diagnosed per month. Therefore, the number of new people being diagnosed and the [number] of people attending the clinic for screening is increasing. Awareness, therefore, contributes greatly towards early detection and with early detection, lives are being saved,” she said.
Participants in the National Walk For The Cure were treated to an outstanding rendition by 2017 Richard Stoute Teen Talent winner, Trinity Clarke, who sang I Am Amazed as well as a dance by Dynasty Cheer Academy. (LG)