By SOLA OGUNDIPE
IN a feat comparable to the inspirational Prudential Ride London-Surrey100-mile cycle ride by 25,000 cyclists and the famous London to Paris Cycle Ride, professional cyclists from the Life Style Cycling Club, Port Harcourt, are set to ride through a mapped out route in Lagos.
The event, tagged the “October 2013 Pink Ride” holds on the 12th of October 2013 from 8:00am – 2:00pm and will be flagged off by Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola.
The mapped out route which comprises Ikeja-Oshodi-Festac- Surulere- Victoria Island- Lekki- Ikoyi- Marina-3rd Mainland Bridge- Ikeja, is brain child of the Pink Pearl Foundation, a public service charity organisation, as part of activities to mark October as World Breast cancer awareness month. An estimated 20,000 breast cancer cases are recorded in Nigeria annually.
With evidence that exercising regularly reduces the risk of breast cancer, there have been attempts at encouraging the habit over the years. Essentially, riding a bicycle is a form of exercise withnumerous other health benefits as well, such as releasing stress, increasing balance, endurance, and stability, burns calories, and increases cardiovascular fitness (good heart condition); amongst many others.
Founder /Chief Executive, Pink Pearl Foundation, Mrs Orode Okpu, observes that four objectives are behind the Pink Ride Lagos initiative. “We are aiming at reaching at least 18 million Lagosians with the message of early detection of breast cancer; helping them understand the reality of this killer disease, and the need to be breast aware, and be proactive about it.”
Okpu argued that through provision of free breast cancer screening and consultation to at least 500 women in Lagos at two select locations on the mainland, and on the island, people would be encouraged to exercise regularly, and helping them see how that can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
“Keeping fit is very important. Breast cancer is a sad phenomenon. Pink Ride Lagos is our fun, happy and interesting way of bringing the message of life to as many as we can reach.”
Unlike past rides,interested individuals can join the ride by paying N5,000. “This fee gives them a place on the cycling team, a cycling jersey, and refreshment during the ride. The ride would also feature free breast cancer screening and consultation at two locations in Ikeja and Lekki Phase 1. The screenings would take place simultaneously from 9:00am-4:00pm.
In a related event, an oncologist from the Diamond Helix Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Vivian Mbaba, urged women to embrace periodic screening to reduce the burden of breast cancer as the second-leading cause of death in women.
During a lecture and screening held at the Liberty House, Evangel Pentecostal Church, Lekki, Mbaba said about 80 percent of breast cancers occur in women older than 50 years, as such, women should not trivialize any lump on their breasts even though not all lump are cancerous. She listed causes of cervical cancer o include having multiple sexual partners; giving birth at a young age before the age of 17 years old; smoking in women and as well as contracting other sexually transmitted diseases pre-dispose victims to the disease.
Coordinator Pink Pearl Foundation, Miss Anita Ajoku encouraged women to go for screening and not to be terrified as people always believe that the cost of screening is expensive.
The Foundation recently set up a skills acquisition centre in Delta State with a view to assisting women in the area of knowledge and skill acquisition capacity of Nigerian women. Pink Pearl Foundation was founded in October 2007 designed to empower women against Breast and Cervical Cancer by providing free check-up and education on healthy tips.