By Chioma Obinna
For over 50 breast cancer survivors, the month of November will remain a memorable one, as Polaris Bank and Care Organisation Public Enlightenmeant, C.O.PE played host to them at an interesting annual end-of-year get together.
The event with the theme: ‘Celebrating our Pink Heroes’, which held at the Sheraton Hotel Ikeja, Lagos was filled with fun, music, networking and learning in a relaxed setting. The annual get-to- together was designed to afford them the opportunity to publicly share their experience; educate more Nigerians about breast cancer; encourage women living with breast cancer to see the positive side of life, and to demystify the stigma associated with breast cancer.
Over the last 10 years, the bank in partnership with C.O.PE has covered four key milestones namely prevention, detection, treatment and advocacy. These include the provision of free screening opportunities for over 15,000 women including female staff members of the bank, and the donation of two ultra-modern breast cancer screening machines (LogiQ C2 and Mind Ray Ultra-Sound System) to enhance quality diagnosis and clinical practices.
They have also sponsored treatment of over 30 indigent cancer patients, and the 10-km walk at two different locations within Lagos metropolis with over 2,500 participants to draw public attention to cancer scourge.
Speaking, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Polaris Bank, Tokunbo Abiru, said love and care demonstrated to breast cancer patients and survivors have an enormously positive influence on their physical and mental wellbeing.
Stating that safety and healthcare is one of the pillars of Polaris Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Abiru affirmed that the bank in partnership with C.O.PE would continue to ensure reduction of breast cancer scourge in the country through increased awareness, advocacy and support for both patients and survivors.
Represented by the Bank’s Directorate Head, Lagos Business, Segun Opeke, he said ” By coming out publicly to talk about their experience, our survivors and heroes have offered an enduring therapy to all persons currently battling the disease and a re-orientation to those who think it’s a stigma to experience cancer. I daresay that the stigma of death on account of secrecy is indeed worse.”
Speaking, President/CEO of C.O.PE, Mrs Ebunola Anozie, said the get-together was a platform to thank God for the life of the survivors and to appreciate Polaris Bank for its support to breast cancer patients in Nigeria.
“This year we decided to bring it here to say thank God and to exchange gifts as well. I also appreciate our sponsors, Polaris Bank; they have been with us for nearly 20 years now. For some time, we had difficulty getting the required support for the women; some of our women used handkerchiefs, some used tissues to fill up their bras. But we thank God for the support of Polaris Bank. They were able to donate prosthesis that ensured they lived better lives.”
A breast cancer survivor, Nnenna Obasi, in her testimonial disclosed that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, and by seeking immediate medical attention and with the support of family and organisations like C.O.PE and Polaris Bank, she overcame the scourge.
She stressed the need for early detection and immediate medical attention.
On hispart, Chairman of Board of Trustees of C.O.PE Foundation, Prof. Osato Giwa-Osagie, who was represented by a Trustee, Engr. Dapo Abe said the organisation was established in 1995 with the vision to reduce the mortality rate of breast cancer through advocacy, treatment, research and education.