“When the light bulb was invented, it wasn’t to stop a war. I understand we’ve got other issues that are way bigger. So I’m not trying to say that what I’m doing is the most important thing that’s happening on the planet, but what I’m saying is, what I’m doing is necessary. Just like if there’s one teacher teaching in a class, what she’s doing is necessary.” -Kanye West
Many have a lot of negative comments to make about Nigeria and Nigerians but here are a few people who have taken the bull by the horns, who have refused to fold hands and wait for government or foreign millionaires to come and deal with a situation. Here are a few Nigerians that have taken up the fight against cancer. We commend their efforts and we hope their stories will spur you on to do great things for your family, your community, your country.
1. BREAST CANCER ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA
Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) is a leading not-for-profit and non-governmental organization galvanizing action against breast cancer in Nigeria. Founded in 1997 by Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, a breast cancer survivor herself, BRECAN is increasingly improving the lives of many touched by breast cancer who would have succumbed to the disease due to ignorance and lack of support. She was inspired by the strength gained from her traumatic experience and the indifference surrounding the disease. Quoting her
“My experience of shattering loneliness, unavailability of information and group support coupled with tight -lip syndrome and indifference surrounding the disease so stirred me that i was inspired to do something that will bring about a positive change and lasting change in the attitude of breast cancer victims themselves and the Nigerian society towards breast cancer and sufferers.”
Today, BRECAN is encouraged that its programs are sensitizing the Nigerian public. Consequent upon the use of awareness creation as an entry point in the fight against breast cancer, more victims are coming out, seeking information and support. Breast cancer, hitherto, discussed in hushed tones is now a topic widely featured on the electronic media. Our innovative activity , Jog for Life is succeeding in breaking down walls of secrecy and stigmatization as survivors showcase that there is life after breast cancer. Though, regrettably, the absence of a national policy on cancer has left cancer patients basically on their own, BRECAN has demonstrated that a helping hand, no matter how small, can make a difference in lives of cancer patients and their families. With the collaboration of Radiotherapy Department, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan the Association provides emotional and informational support to patients and family members at a Tuesday weekly counseling session. Given that it is not within the scope of the Association to sponsor patient treatment, yet some very need patients are assisted from the paltry proceeds generated internally. Furthermore, the Association in collaboration with a volunteer team of consultants led by Mr. O.O. Akute (FRCS Fellow Royal College of Surgeons) at UCH surgical out-patient unit, has made a breakthrough in creating access for women to have clinical breast examination free of charge.
2. THE WELL BEING FOUNDATION
The WellBeing Foundation was founded in 2003, out of the abundance of compassion and uncommon ability for effective action, which her Founder and President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki has for the development of people and communities at large.
The WellBeing Foundation President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, has long served as one of the Initiators/Trustees of the Lagos based “Lifestream Charity”, established for the provision of medical treatment of Nigerian children suffering from life threatening diseases and other conditions, particularly heart disease. Through this personal, long-standing philanthropic and volunteer experience, Mrs Saraki could not simply fold her arms and ignore the yearnings of the populace for assistance towards self reliance.
Arriving Kwara State as First Lady in 2003, Mrs. Saraki immediately embarked on an ‘Assessing the Needs’ tour of the state, an extensive consultative experience that gave birth to the Kwara Wellbeing Trust, KWT, Alaafia Kwara, (as it is fondly called) catering to the specific needs of the good people of Kwara state; providing a wide-range support and opportunities to all, and complementing the duties of the Office of the wife of the Governor, Kwara State.
With ongoing community interaction in Kwara State, it became clear that a coherent non governmental strategy was needed for Nigeria not only to provide necessary impetus to the efforts of individual to generate thier own prosperity, but also to provide a framework for collaborative efforts between NGO’s, hence, the emergence of The WellBeing Foundation.
The WellBeing Foundation believes that Nigeria is rich in human resources. We have therefore set ourselves the task of ensuring that this human capital is not wasted by the lack of an infrastructural support base that all might realise their full potential!
3. OPTIMAL CANCER CARE FOUNDATION
Optimal Cancer Care Foundation is a Registered self-funded Non-profit Organisation that relies on sponsors to deliver FREE cancer screening campaigns. We are grateful to corporate organizations and individual donors for their support! We have dedicated every FRIDAY towards offering FREE Breast and Cervical Screening to Nigerian women at our cancer screening centre. We look forward to having more compassionate donors, sponsors and partners join us as we continue to strive to win the ‘fight’ against these two common and very preventable female cancers in Nigeria!
Free Cancer Screening Available For Women Every Friday (10-5pm) @ Optimal Cancer Care Foundation’s Screening Centre.
118, Bode Thomas Street (Opp Starcomms),
Surulere – Lagos
4. PINK PEARL FOUNDATION
Pink Pearl foundation was founded in October 2007, for the sole purpose of raising awareness about breast cancer in Nigeria. PPF began with a fundraising musical concert, comedy and dance forum in Lagos State Nigeria. It attracted a lot of crowd and attention and was able to raise enough money to begin awareness campaigns.
Its first campaign was in Warri, Delta state in January 2008.
Pink Pearl foundation has gradually grown in the past two years and has been able to influence a lot of women not just in Delta State but in Other Nigerian societies.
Its is the Initiative of Orode Uduaghan, whose passion to help her community gave birth to the foundation. Her zeal to make the world a better place prompted the 18-year-old undergraduate to begin work. She started the foundation from her imagination and it grew to be a reality.
“ I was in the library, studying for a exam actually, and was going through some data on breast cancer, I decided to look up the one on Nigeria, the result was not good, and I thought about it for a moment and it hit me that this data is based on people who have some sort of resources and information on this disease, what if we actually dig properly to places like my village I wonder how many we would find, I sat there wondering to myself for a while and said you know what we can do something, we can actually change this, with the links I had and people I knew I could make a difference, the rest was history” Orode Uduaghan.
The thought of having women in Nigeria die of this disease out of ignorance gave birth this foundation.
Women are very important part of our society, and PPF believes that if you can save a woman, you can save a generation.