October 19th is International Breast Cancer Day, and this year there is an island-wide campaign to Turn Tenerife Pink.
This morning Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga hosted a press conference with Guido Gianoli, (president, Asociación Benéfica Italo-Canaria ABIC), Santiago del Teide mayor Emilio Navarro, Arona social services councillor, Elena Cabello Moya, Adeje health councillor Amada Trujillo Bencomo and Ámate president Marie Carmen Bonfante. Present in the audience were people from cancer associations AECC, and the Walk for Life, CEST, and other participating institutions.
The idea is raise awareness of breast cancer among the general population with an explosion of pink bows all over Tenerife – on trees, buildings, homes and balconies. Almost every borough is now involved in the campaign and the organisers are also hoping that the general public will become involved and wear a pink ribbon or display one on October 19th.
“Early detection and investigation are also an important part of this campaign” said the Adeje mayor. “We all have or have had at least one woman in our lives” he continued, with breast cancer now affecting an increasing number or younger women and men too. The campaign will also encourage people, men and women, to begin regular self-examinations to detect lumps or any changes in their breast zone and facilitate early treatment or medical intervention.
Guido Gianoli, who spearheaded the campaign, says there will be over 15,000 pink ribbons on trees all over the island of Tenerife on the day. “Breast cancer knows no frontiers, colour, race or religion”; he commented. Ámate president Maria del Carmen Bonfante said that she could personally confirm that early detection saves lives. She also thanked Guido, the councils and all those contributing to the campaign for their work and commitment.
The initiative also has the support of many private institutions including the Rotary Club, CaixaBank, CEST, Anima Tenerife, and Vive Tenerife.
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Students from an Adeje massage course recently organised a charity event through the Sports department of the council, raising over €700 for the Walk for Life organisation. The organisation helps families and persons affected by breast cancer as well as donating funds to cancer research.
The event also featured sack races and acrobatics and about 70 people attended to take advantage of the massages on offer by the students of the course.
Sports councillor Adolfo Alonso Ferrera said, “this initiative shows the commitment the people of Adeje have to health and wellbeing”, adding that the town were always ready to help and participate in causes that improved the lives of people in need, and society in general.
Ferrera congratulated the organisers and students who gave of their time to the event.
“It is about reducing fear, about helping people live with cancer”
Walk for Life/Carrera por la Vida founder Brigitte Gypen, Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga and deputy Arona mayor Antonio Sosa hosted a press conference in the Adeje CDTCA to announce details of this year’s series of events celebrating 10 years of the Walk for Life.
The annual walk, which takes place this year on December 14th, is a rallying call for cancer sufferers and survivors, and is a unifying event in many ways. It brings together Spanish cancer charities and support organisations, people living with cancer, their friends and families, those who have sadly lost someone to cancer, and on a wider scale the general public of Adeje and Arona, a multi-cultural mix in itself, as the walk always crosses from one borough to another, alternatively starting in Adeje and ending in Arona, or vice-versa. This year the walk will start in the CC City Centre and finish at Fañabe beach.
Adeje’s mayor congratulated Brigitte and the organisers on the multi-cultural nature of the event, as well as all the good work achieved in early detection and help for those families who are suffering as a result of a breast cancer diagnosis. “This is about overcoming obstacles, about making the invisible visible, about creating awareness among friends, family and society in general”, he said as well as praising the solidarity network among those who have suffered cancer which helped improve the quality of life of those still struggling. “It is also about reducing fear, about helping people live with cancer”. He added that the funds raised during the annual event were also very important for the cancer associations. The mayor alluded to austerity measures by the national government in many areas, including health, which, he underlined, “could put lives in danger”.
Antonio Sosa, deputy mayor of Arona, congratulated Brigitte on her ongoing work as well as all the volunteers who work throughout the year. “This has become a ‘Clásico’” he said, and helped let people know that “they are not alone, that there are many many people with them in their struggle. We all need help now and then”, he said, adding “walking for life really is worthwhile”.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the walk, which sees thousands take part annually in what is a celebration of life and a reminder of the life-saving possibilities of early detection in breast cancer, the organisers with the support of the councils and businesses have organised 10 events, starting in October, which will also raise awareness, funds and support for breast cancer. “We have played a little with the Walk for Life title”, Brigitte Gypen said, announcing the events (listed below), which will bring together a whole host of people in the world of dance, sport, music, the media, gastronomy, and much more. Most of the events will take place in either Adeje or Arona, and Brigitte added “we hope to exceed the €18,000 raised last year”, adding that one of the group’s aspirations is to be able to create “a zone, a space a permanent home for people who want to talk about cancer, maybe to watch a film, listen to music…a ‘feel good’ room perhaps, a space where people can look forward to their tomorrows”.
Included among the events planned is a conference for life, with the participation of Dr Isabel Rubio Rodríguez, who will fly in from Barcelona for the event, and is a leading practitioner in breast cancer care and treatment. She will host two conferences, one in English and one in Spanish, to reach the widest audience possible, and answer questions from the floor. In parallel there will be medical experts on hand in screened areas to advise and demonstrate self-examination for women. And Brigitte told the conference that it was very important that women of all ages be aware of the need for body awareness and examination as in recent years more and more younger women were presenting, and early detection was and is vital.
The events are:
September 20th, Swim for life, Tenerife Top Training, Adeje
September 26th, Conference for life, CDTCA, Adeje
October 4th, Yoga for life, Playa Las Vistas, Arona
October 12th, Golf for life, Los Palos Golf, Arona
October 16th, Dance for life, Plaza Pescador, Los Cristianos, Arona
November 14th, Soul for life, El Médano, Granadilla
November 21st, Radiomarathon for life, Adeje
November 28th, Chestnuts and wine for life, Valle San Lorenzo, Arona
December 7th, Cycling for life, La Caleta, Adeje
December 14th, Walk for life
A new webpage has also been designed by the Karonte company which, www.carreraporlavida.com or www.walkforlife.es which has information on the association, galleries from past years and importantly registration forms for all of this year’s events. Early registration is important for the organisers, so if you are planning to take part in one or some of the events do register in advance where possible.
Yesterday (Sunday December 15) Adeje and Arona councils were delighted to help raise over €18,000 during the 2013 Walk For Life which saw over 2,000 people walk alongside the two mayors, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga from Adeje and Francisco Niño Rodríguez from Arona, and councillors from both boroughs, led by the event organisers, Brigitte Gypen, and many others.
The monies raised will go to the Spanish Cancer Association and AMATE, the Association for Women Affected by Breast Cancer, who will fund projects to help women suffering from this illness as well as research into treatments and the cause of breast cancer. Both mayors stated that this Walk for Life “was part of a constant struggle that all of society needs to be involved in”. Adeje’s first citizen said, “this pink wave also recognises the strength of those brave women who fight to survive on a daily basis, and must also serve to say a resounding NO to any cutbacks in social and health funding”.
“To Walk Is To Support” was the phrase chosen by event organiser Brigitte Gypen for this year’s event, as the walk is “a social event that is emotional and shows solidarity, taking place every year between the boroughs of Adeje and Arona to raise funds to fight the fight against breast cancer, and to underline, again, in this way, our total support for those who are fighting this illness”.
The day began at 9am with the arrival of the first walkers, eager to sign up and get their shirts, hats, and water. Throughout the day, and given the international nature of the walk, information was given out in Spanish and English. As the crowds gathered there was a Zumba master class given by Mónica, Sonia y Selene to warm up the walkers, and an exhibition by the Canarian Polish Association, of photographs of women at different stages of treatment for breast cancer.
At 10.45 the walkers set off, accompanied by the drum beats of the BlanquiSur drummers, who led the 2,000 strong group all the way. For those who couldn’t manage the full walk the bus company Barrera Chinea were on stand-by with a free transport service.
At the end of a noisy, fun-filled and very pink walk there was fruit and refreshment free to all participants, and a song from young Luke Towler, a student with the Adeje School of Music and Dance, who performed his own composition, “Walk for life”. At the same time swimmers organised under the Tenerife Master club were swimming in support.
The organisers were delighted with the event and thank all who took part.
Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, speaking at the press conference to announce final details of this Sunday’s Walk for Life, said the event was hugely significant, and brought together a number of important factors: “There are three important element here. Firstly solidarity for women who have cancer, letting them know they are not alone, that this can affect anyone. Secondly this is an event about unity, unifying us, Adeje and Arona, and events like this are important in developing the zone; unifying us in a humanitarian cause, and with global significance as this has a huge international dimension. Thirdly this is about calling attention to the health issue, to the importance of funding for cancer prevention and treatment, and that there must be no cuts in this funding”.
He added that the event on Sunday, the 9th annual Walk for Life, was a Fiesta of Commitment.
The Walk for Life is now an annual event that is held in the boroughs of Adeje and Arona and unites thousands of walkers raising awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection, as well as funds to help research and treatment. The event’s organiser Brigitte Gypen, said that this year they were hoping to increase the number of walkers – “last year there were 2,300 walkers and we raised €16,000. We hope to top that this year”, she said. Responding to a question she said that, as a breast cancer survivor, when she organised the first walk, nine years ago in Santa Cruz, she was surprised when almost 500 people turned up, but now, nine years on, was delighted at the numbers turning out every year.
The Walk for Life, on Sunday December 15th, will start at the Magma Arte & Congresos centre in Adeje, take the road to the coast and walk along the sea-front to the Centro Comercial Nueva Mar, in front of Playa Las Vistas in Arona – almost five kilometres. The walk begins at 10.30, but organisers are asking people to turn up at least an hour beforehand to register (minimum donation of €3), pick up a t-shirt or cap, and join in the Zumba class organised as a warm-up before the walkers set off. All who register are also given a numbered ticket as there is a grand raffle at the end of the walk, with the top prize a ten-day cruise with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, as well as other prizes. Luke Towler, the Adeje School of Music student, will perform his own song Walk for Life, which he wrote for his mother, also a cancer survivor, and which has become the anthem of the event. A number of swimmers – up to 50 – will be doing a parallel swim at the same time.
The organisers also announced that courtesy of Barrera Chinea there will be a bus for those who want to participate but might not be able to physically complete the 5K walk, and would also bring people back to the Magma centre after the event ended, so walkers could return to the cars. Participants will also be asked to take photographs with their cameras or phones during the walk and afterwards send them to an email (to be allocated) as next year, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the walk, a special calendar would be published using the photographs sent.
Also taking part in the press conference were Carlota Cobo Hernández, director of the Tenerife Cancer Association, María del Carmen Bonfante, president of ÁMATE, the Association of Women Affected by Breast Cancer, Antonio Sosa, deputy mayor of Arona and present were Adeje councillors for Health, Rafael Dolado García, for Social Welfare, Amada Trujillo Bencomo, and for Equality, Juan Desiderio Afonso Ruiz. Antonio Sosa said the event was an important reflection of the solidarity and commitment of South Tenerife.