It all started as most great things – small. In 2002, an idea to make the next Tuesday after the Thanksgiving Day in The United States of America a day specially set aside worldwide for voluntary giving to charity was spawned.
It was meant to kick-start the Christmas and New Year holiday season. Some corporate organisations, in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation, have gradually and assiduously worked, not just to make #Giving Tuesday acquire international relevance but also to raise millions of dollars in support of many worthy, charitable causes around the world.
This new #Giving Tuesday fad has, this year, jumped out of its original birthplace, the USA, and made an exciting landfall in Nigeria, though most people are still curious as to what it is all about.
However, the air of curiosity is giving way to clarity, as the Committee for Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), which has in the past two years, been campaigning to raise awareness against the deadly but growing epidemic of cancer in Nigeria, has won the support of some prominent Nigerians who are now leading the fundraiser for an ambitious undertaking known as the Big War Against Cancer in Nigeria.
Perhaps, as their own way of giving back to the Nigerian society for the great opportunities it afforded them to actualise their dreams, Ambassador Christopher Kolade (CON) the Anchor, and Professor Pat Utomi (OFR) the Chairman Fundraising for CECP have, like their American counterparts, been rallying the support of the Organised Private Sector to join the army and wage a Big War Against Cancer in Nigeria.
The imperatives for this “war” are obvious, going by the grim data from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Breast cancer deaths rose from 30 daily in 2008 to 40 in 2012, while in men prostate cancer deaths climbed from 14 daily in 2008 to 26 in 2012. The progression is similar for all other categories of cancer. Out of about 100,000 diagnosed of the disease annually in Nigeria about 80,000 die; one of the highest death rates from cancer. This is attributable, mainly, to the low awareness and lack of relevant equipment for diagnosis and treatment of cancer in Nigeria.
We commend this effort to popularise #Giving Tuesday in Nigeria and use it to fight cancer, a disease that has no regard to the socio-economic status of those it attacks. This disease can only be contained with massive publicity to enable Nigerians know the importance of early detection, which can be the difference between life and death.
We must all support this campaign with financial, logistical and moral giving. Let us make #Giving Tuesday work for us. Go out and give something today!