The pink light, which Avon Philippines has lit up a year ago for breast cancer awareness, beams brighter and will spread further this year as the company, together with Color Manila, stages a night run and walk event.
Dubbed the Pink Light Night Run and Walk 2019, the event happening on Oct. 19 at the Filinvest City Event Grounds, aims to raise awareness of the disease—which remains the top cause of death among Filipino women—and remind women to do the breast self-examination regularly.
Avon has long been at the forefront of the fight against breast cancer. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, launched in 1992, has donated more than $800 million to breast cancer causes, educated 180 million women about the disease, and funded breast health screenings for nearly 20 million women.
In the Philippines, where the company empowers primarily women financially, several activities have been staged such as the symbolic lighting of notable buildings and landmarks last year. The company also holds fundraising campaigns and education campaigns in partnership with the Philippine Cancer Society.
“We do this because we believe you can’t have too much awareness of breast cancer. As long as there are Filipinas who don’t do the breast self-exam regularly, there is still work we can do,” said Avon Philippines general manager Razvan Diratian.
Diratian emphasized the importance of the continuing advocacy to promote self-examination as Avon found through a global survey in 2017 that therein remains a knowledge gap among women about the symptoms of breast cancer and how to lower the risk of developing the disease.
The global study found that only two in five women know the early signs of breast cancer, and most are unaware that their lifestyles could increase their risk of developing the disease.
According to Diratian, the Avon Breast Cancer Promise was born to make sure every woman is aware of the disease and how to fight it—at the core of every activity they do is awareness.
“The most important piece [of this advocacy] is [promoting] self-examination. Obviously when you detect something, you can get medical support as soon as possible,” Diratian told Manila Standard.
The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development said one in 13 Filipinas will develop breast cancer in her lifetime; it also affects one in 1,000 men. Despite the alarming statistics, many Filipinas still do not do the breast self-exam, the surest way to detect the disease early, as they are either scared or pressed for time.
But if the exam was ingrained as a habit among women, experts said, many would be able to fight the disease before it is too late.
“Signs and symptoms oftentimes come late; we want to catch this disease early that’s why we educate the public,” said Philippine Cancer Society executive director Dr. Rachael Rosario.
Dr. Rosario reiterated the importance of self-examination, explaining that when the tumor is detected early, as in it is still small, the chances of getting cured are higher.
Proceeds from the upcoming Pink Light Night Run will be donated to provide assistance to the Philippine Cancer Society, Avon Philippines’ long-time partner in its fight against breast cancer.
One of the fruits of this partnership was the creation of the Avon-Philippine General Hospital Breast Care Center, which provides free breast health guidance, consultation, and check-ups to approximately 150 women a day.
“We’ve always cherished our relationship with Avon,” said Dr. Rosario. “They have been a constant and committed partner in our advocacy, and instrumental in establishing the Breast Care Center in PGH, which has helped save many women’s lives and continues to serve more.
Dr. Rosario added, “We hope that their campaign this year will invite more women to commit to their health seriously.”
Participants to the night run and walk will go through a fun course. They may choose to take the 3K, 5K, or 10K distances. Race kit package rates range from P950 to P2,000. Celebrities Jennylyn Mercado and Daniel Matsunaga will join the run.
“It’s not about performance, it’s about participation. It’s important that we bring our families, friends, communities to drive awareness,” said Diratian.
In addition to the run event, the SM Mall of Asia Globe will be once again lit up in pink this October, while Makati Shangri-La Hotel mounts an installation at its lobby as well as offers a Pink Afternoon Tea promotion featuring sweet and savory dishes in pink. The pink delicacies are available at the Lobby Lounge from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. until Oct. 31.