…As Dickson launches cancer foundation in memory of the late mother
By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA— President Muhammadu Buhari, former Presidents Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd) have advocated concerted action against the spread of cancer in the country.
They spoke, yesterday, at the official launch of Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation and groundbreaking ceremony of Goldcoast Dickson Cancer Centre at Toru Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
They all commended Dickson for taking the initiative to fight cancer through an emphasis on early detection and treatment and pledged to support the foundation.
Represented by minister-designate, Dr Chris Ngige, Buhari described the establishment of the centre as a step in the right direction designed to prevent avoidable deaths and promised to support it.
He said the centre could be the nucleus of a major health institution to save millions of lives and urged Dickson not to be deterred from his vision.
His words:” The President congratulates you on the step you have taken to set up the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation to operate the Goldcoast Dickson Cancer Centre, and he describes it as a step in the right direction.
“The president also says the Federal Government is doing a lot in the effort to prevent cancer and wishes to inform you that the Federal Government will readily collaborate with centres like yours.
“On a personal note, as a medical doctor, I want to thank you because it gives me joy when I see a non-medical person doing what you are doing now. This centre could be the nucleus of what Nigeria will use to save many lives.”
Chairman of the occasion, Abubakar, described the effort as a wonderful philanthropic gesture that is worthy of support and appealed to all to donate generously to the cause.
Also, Obasanjo praised Dickson for honouring his mother with the setting up of the cancer centre, which he noted would go a long way in checking the killer disease.
Obasanjo stated that only those who had come into close contacts with victims of cancer and the traumatic experience would know the magnitude of the pain, anguish and misery being inflicted on the society.
“When you see what cancer does, particularly the excruciating pain the sufferer goes through, you would want to do everything and anything to comfort those who are victims and that is exactly what you are doing.
“Cancer can be managed if it is diagnosed early. The second thing you say your foundation will be doing is what I call, institutional memory, one of the things we are very bad at in our country. Keep and maintain records and let it be accessible for those who want to do research.”
On his part, Jonathan, who pledged the support of his foundation, agreed that cancer had become a big problem in society, stressing the need for collaborative efforts in curbing the disease.
He recalled painfully how the dreaded disease killed his Special Adviser on Strategy and Documentation, and renowned environmentalist, Oronto Douglas.
In his remarks, Dickson expressed gratitude to Buhari and other leaders for joining him in honouring the first anniversary of the passage of his mother.
While sharing fond memories of his mother, the governor said the foundation would, among other things, carry out research work aimed at early diagnosis and treatment.
Dickson, who noted that the foundation was part of his efforts to continually contribute to the well-being of humanity, urged all to donate time, skills and funds to ensure the success of the project.
He said: “It’s a humble effort on my part to set up this cancer foundation because I thought I should have a vehicle through which I could do some public good for humanity.
“I, therefore humbly call on public-spirited individuals and those who have resources to support this worthy cause to stop cancer from ravaging our population.”