Cancer awareness programmes come in all shapes and sizes. This being November what better month to talk about “No-Shave November”, than in November.

No-Shave November is a web-based campaign that raises funds for cancer awareness, prevention, research and education. The unique feature of the campaign is the fact that
participants refrain from shaving, cutting hair or grooming during the month of November.

No-Shave November
Participants are encouraged to donate the money they typically spend for personal grooming to the foundation. The concept is to embrace hair since most cancer patients lose their hair due to treatment. One of the traditions of the event include the beard and leg hair contest where the person with the bushiest hair after the month is selected. Also, this is the time when people rally for cancer, raising funds or awareness throughout the month.

Although the campaign has reached the shores of Sri Lanka, only a few know the real reasons behind and actively participate in the fund raising program. The rest of them enjoy the month when they can look wild, although very few ladies give up shaving their legs.

Commenting on cancer awareness in the country, Sri Lanka Cancer Society, president, AJB Anghie said that they conduct at least eight cancer awareness programs per month, in collaboration with various organizations. He believes that this should be done on a greater scale and the media should take better measures to spread the word about these awareness programs.

“We still have a stigma attached to cancer and this has to be gotten over,” said Anghie. “We conduct a free cancer clinic in Colombo every month at our premises. In Kandy our programs tend to be more community oriented”.

Currently, the Sri Lanka Cancer Society has a mobile unit as well as an in-house officer to raise cancer awareness.

Anghie further commented on the failure of the authorities to standardize the public smoking rooms. “Although restaurants in hotels have smoking and non smoking areas, most restaurants serve food in the smoking areas. This should not be allowed as this results in passive smoking. If it is a smoking area it should be like the smoking area in the airport, which is solely dedicated for the purpose of smoking,” he said.

Anghie also believes that the government is going to increase the grants to the Sri Lanka Cancer Society. “We relieve the cancer hospital of some of their patients and treat them for free at Shantha Sevana Hospice. We are entirely dependant on voluntary donations at the moment and operating on four million rupee deficit a year which makes us draw from the capital,” he said.

He highlighted the importance of companies donating to the Sri Lanka Cancer Society via Corporate Social Responsibility projects.

Run For Their Lives
‘Run for their Lives’ is a Colombo based annual five kilometer charity Run that has won popularity over the years. The Run is organized in aid of the National Cancer Institute of Maharagama by the Rotaract Club of Colombo Uptown. The event also serves to raise public awareness of cancer.

Rotaract Club of Colombo Uptown, Assistant Secretary, Naadira Jumat commented that 2016 RFTL would be the seventh consecutive run. “The event serves as a social gathering for like-minded people and they aid cancer patients in need of assistance by taking part in enjoyable events,” she says.

According to her, so far the programme has raised more than ten million rupees for the cause. RFTL 2016 will be held on December 4 at Race Course premises from 7 am onwards. “This time the event promises more enjoyable events than ever before. Also, greater focus would be given to raising awareness among participants,” she said.

According to Jumat the event would include music, food stalls, game areas and other activities in addition to the Run. She also believes that this would be an event that could be enjoyed by the whole family. The route to the five kilometer run would also consist of other activities for participants who choose to stroll than to run. Also, valuable prizes would be awarded for the winners of the run.