Over 400 walk participate in Pink Lily walk-a-thon

Charlestown Nevis — Hundreds in Nevis showed their support to efforts being made to fight cancer by participating in Pink Lily Cancer Care Celebrating 5 Years Walk-a-thon on Saturday.

Shortly before the walkathon started Lea Parris Cambridge, the Founder and Executive Director, Pink Lily Cancer Care, told participants that the money raised through the walkathon would help establish a cancer centre where members of the public will access cancer information and education and where persons diagnosed with cancer and their families will receive care and support.

The total money raised was EC 11,140. The money raised will go towards the establishment of a Pink Lily Cancer Centre.

Participants of all ages and from all walks of life commenced the walkathon at 6.00 a.m from Chicken Stone to Sunshine’s Bar and Restaurant, Pinneys Beach where they were treated to a delicious and healthy breakfast. During the breakfast, various persons paid tribute to persons affected by cancer. A businessman, Earl “Pancho” Morton recited a poem he wrote recently. Tarana Anadkat a grade 5 student at Lynn Jeffers Primary School gave a speech of the importance of eating healthy and doing exercises.

The first male to complete the walkathon was 13 year old Tajarie Arthurton, the first female was 41 year old Vanessa Williams, the first child (under 12) was 10 year old Tavon Arthurton. The oldest person to complete the walkathon was 79 year old Dr Gordon Avery. The youngest children who are joint winners who completed the walkathon were 4 year old Natasha Macmullin and 4 year old Miriah Daniel.

“Pink Lily walkathon exceeded the expectations of Pink Lily volunteers. With over 430 walkers during Friday’s registration, the T-shirts ran out with new people registering and asking for last year’s t-shirts because they wanted to support the event.

“Because the event was so well attended, breakfast ran out and more breakfast was sourced out to make sure all those who walked were fed after their long walk. It was a great turn-out, there were more men this year than in previous years and more children and with mothers pushing strollers. The youngest child in a stroller was nine months’ old,” Pink Lily founder said.“The awareness has grown over the past five years. We had so many people come out and even people who did not register. We had people who came out just to support the cause. We are happy for that to happen as well. A massive thank you to the general public for supporting the walkathon and for fighting cancer with us.,” Lea Parris Cambridge said.

“For the first time, we had a dog walking on the walkathon. There was a t-shirt competition for the most creative t-shirt. The winner of the most creative competition was Mickia Mills. Among the walkathon enthusiasts was the Minister of Health, Hon. Mark Brantley who was participating in the walkathon for the first time. There was a notable presence of cancer survivors, students, children under 12 years and as young as four years who completed the walkathon. Some of the children who participated have lost parents to cancer. A child cancer survivor who is five years old participated in the walkathon.

Platinum walkathon sponsors were Northern and Western Insurance and Rams Trading. Other sponsors included Four Seasons Resort, Delisle Walwyn, Caribbean Alliance, Scotia Bank, Sunshine’s Bar and Restaurant, Errol Pemberton, Boddies Cafe and Channel 8. The sponsors sent members of staff to participate in the Pink Lily 5th anniversary walkathon. Contributors were strikers car rentals, Tropical Ice, Mikey Slack.

Prize givers were Caribbean Pest Control, Café Des Arts., Bridget Hunkins provided the tables and chairs while Stephen Hector provided the tents for walkathon registration. Hon. Brantley commented on the overwhelming turn out: “The turn-out is excellent, much bigger than last year. I think the awareness is growing and that is why we are happy. It means the message is getting out. People are taking responsibility for their health. This is what we want them to do.“In some cases, cancer is preventable. If discovered early, it is treatable. We want out people to do their pap smears and their breast examinations. These services are being offered by our health system here on Nevis,” Hon. Brantley said. The Minister said the Ministry of Health’s priorities were prevention and education.

A gynaecologist, Dr Jessica Bardales, who is also a cancer survivor said the huge turn-out showed the fight against cancer is picking up on the island of Nevis, “It is very good to see so many persons from different backgrounds. They made the time and the effort to come together because in this fight, all of us need to be together. It does not matter who you are or where you come from, because cancer can affect anybody. This is a very incredible event. It is an act of love, giving our time to make things happen.”

Simon Hopewell, a legal counsel, Northern and Western Insurance spoke at the finishing point, “This morning, I made sure the whole of our staff went to the walkathon. Northern and Western Insurance made a long term commitment to sponsor the walkathon last year and this year. We are proud to be supporters of Pink Lily,”he said. Hopewell also disclosed that Northern and Western will support Pink Lily on a monthly basis.

Shelly Julius, Sales Manager Rams, St. Kitts spoke highly of the event. “I think the event was a worthy cause and it was well received, persons are showing concern to persons whose life is touched by cancer because you never know who is next.”

Llwellyn “Sunshine” Caines owner of Sunshine’s Bar and Restaurant encouraged persons living with cancer to keep their hope alive, “Stay strong. Believe in God. Everything is going to be alright. There is a cure around the corner.”He said Pink Lily is involved in a great cause. “More people should be involved. Black people are dying at a rapid rate due to breast cancer and prostate cancer. So it is a good cause.

Shelma Brookes a cancer survivor who walked from Brown Pasture to Sunshine’s Beach Bar and Restaurant described the walkathon as ‘a very great experience,’ “ It is a very good experience. I am glad they showed their support. It makes me fill good that they are there to fight cancer with me.” Brookes was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

Tracy Parris Client Support Coordinator said the turn-out was more than was expected: “It is the best turn-out we have ever had. We will aim at a bigger turn-out next year. We will be better prepared. We were prepared for the numbers we used to get. Everyone was great. It was good to see very many men. We had a young speaker telling us how we should take care of ourselves. It was a great turn out. It was fantastic.”Contact Pink Lily on 1 869 664 3306 or email tracy.pinklilycancercare@gmail.com or lea.pinklilycancercare@gmail.com

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