This year’s walk is themed “celebrate every step” as a tribute to those who have been affected by cancer either personally or through a loved one, says Algoa FM marketing manager Toinette Koumpan.
The Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture has increased its involvement in the Big Walk for Cancer, as it has recognised the contribution the event makes to encouraging people to change their lifestyle and to walk regularly, as well as participating in other forms of athletic events, she says.
The Big Walk for Cancer will have two ambassadors, Xylon van Eyck and Dr Lesley Lee, both of whom will be celebrating their own steps and victories against Cancer.
Dr Lee, who is a divisional head at Volkswagen South Africa in Uitenhage, says she is looking forward to her first year as brand ambassador for what has become the single biggest public participation charity event in the Eastern Cape.
She lost her right leg to a rare form of cancer when she was in grade 11. Undeterred, she continued to study and today holds a PhD in change management.
TV presenter, sports promoter and keen cyclist, van Eyck grew up in Booysens Park, Port Elizabeth. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 26, and has been in remission since 2014.
“We are looking forward to celebrating every step with not only our ambassadors but the thousands of Big Walk participants who join us in this journey year after year,” says Koumpan.
The Department of health will once again be a part of the journey, providing Eastern Cape residents with free screenings and information clinics in an effort to promote early detection throughout the province, says Sizwe Kupelo, provincial health spokesperson.
“The screenings will take place in three towns as a build up to the Big Walk in Port Elizabeth and residents are encouraged to exercise, eat healthy and walk for at least 30 minutes every day to curb lifestyle diseases,” says Kupelo.
The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) will be this year’s beneficiary. In 2018 it used funds raised by the Big Walk to purchase a mobile mole finder which detects signs of skin cancer.
“CANSA Association does a remarkable job, supporting cancer sufferers and their families in all Eastern Cape communities,” says Koumpan.
This year, the Big Walk for Cancer will also be more environmentally friendly as bottle recycling stations will be placed at the main points along the five-kilometre route.
“Let’s join hands this October and celebrate every step with everyone who has been affected by cancer to show our support," says Koumpan.
To enter the Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer visit the Algoa FM page at www.algoafm.co.za