By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK One in every three persons globally is a potential cancer statistic and more people die from cancer worldwide than from HIV/AIDS. It is with these worrying sentiments that concerted efforts are being made by the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) to raise awareness about this killer disease. CAN in collaboration with Windhoek-based cycling club Cycling for Christ launched the second ‘Cycling for Christ Awareness Tour’ in the capital. This is the second consecutive year that this annual event is being held with the aim to raise awareness about the escalation in the number of people afflicted by cancer. Close to twenty sportsmen and women will be undertaking a 1 000-kilometre cycling tour from Oshakati to Keetmanshoop from May 09 to 16 this year. Last year close to N$60 000 was raised after which the funds were used by the Cancer Association of Namibia to help cancer sufferers throughout the country. Launching this beneficial initiative in the capital yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Youth, National Service and Sport Pohamba Shifeta stressed the importance of raising awareness about this disease that is increasingly affecting productive citizens. “This is a commendable approach as it shows the social responsibility of local sports people to do something about the suffering of cancer patients,” he said. Shifeta said further that there is a strong need also to look into the preventative measures that people should take when it comes to cancer, like for instance curbing smoking that ultimately leads to second- hand smoking as well. “There’s no law that prevents public smoking, but we need to also look into the issue of smoking by pregnant mothers as this is detrimental to their health and that of their children,” said Shifeta, commending CAN and the Cycle for Christ group for a job well done. At the same time the deputy minister called upon other organisations to join in the effort. As a charity organisation, Cycling for Christ approached CAN with the initiative to raise funds for the plight of cancer sufferers. Since its inception last year Cycling for Christ has been involved with various other organisations like the Namibian Prison Services, the Khomasdal Education Trust and the Hope Centre in Rehoboth. According to the chairperson of the organisation Clauss Beukes the main objective of the 1 000 kilometre cycling tour by local sports people is not only geared towards raising awareness, but to increase community outreach programmes while at the same time encourage the public to go for testing and counselling. “Through this tour we want to use our healthy bodies to give something back to the community and we encourage more Namibians to get involved,” said Beukes. The theme for this year’s cycling campaign is “1000 km for Cancer,” while the total operational budget for the cancer cycling tour amounts to just over N$75 000.
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