You're not alone: Show of support for cancer patients at 17-hour community event

Calin Tan is a breast cancer survivor and also the chairman of a cancer support group. She is part of the organising committee for Relay for Life.
Calin Tan is a breast cancer survivor and also the chairman of a cancer support group. She is part of the organising committee for Relay for Life.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) on Saturday (Feb 18) launched Relay for Life, a 17-hour community event which hopes to convey the message that cancer patients are not alone.

Officially launched by the SCS at Bukit Gombak Stadium, the event - held for the first time in Singapore - saw cancer survivors walking and running in the Survivors' Lap to raise funds for the work done by the society.

Over Saturday and Sunday, Relay for Life will see over 7,000 participants taking part, including cancer patients, their caregivers and other members of the public.

Having the community participate in Relay for Life acts as a symbol of support for cancer patients and their family, to assure them that no one fights cancer alone, said Dr Tan Wu Meng, chairman of the organising committee for SCS Relay for Life 2017.

"The fight against cancer can be physically and emotionally draining for cancer patients and caregivers. With SCS Relay for Life, we want to rally the community to come together and take turns to walk around the track to support cancer patients and their families," he said.

Among the participants who took part in the Survivors' Lap flagged off by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Saturday, was cancer survivor Mr P.J. Roberts who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2013. He has since undergone treatment and has been in remission for the past three-and-a-half years.

The 43-year-old Singapore permanent resident said he found the event meaningful because it brought together not just cancer patients, but also caregivers who play an important role in providing support for cancer patients.

"It's tough for the family. You're affected by it and you're dealing with it in your own way but they need their support as well," he added.

On Saturday night, Minister of State for Health Mr Chee Hong Tat will join participants in a ceremony to remember those who fought and lost the cancer journey. He will also flag off the Caregivers' Lap where caregivers will run or walk in recognition of their time and effort in caring for cancer patients.

Members of the public who would like to participate can still register on site at Bukit Gombak Stadium to walk alongside cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.

All funds raised from registration will go towards supporting the work of SCS, such as palliative care for cancer patients.