SGI-Malaysia Helps Raise Cancer Awareness and Promote Organ Donation
On June 23, SGI-Malaysia (SGM) members in Penang participated in a 24-hour relay event, Relay for Life 2012, hosted by the Penang Branch of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia at Penang Municipal Park to honor the lives of those affected by cancer.
Relay for Life is an international cancer fundraising event that was initiated by an American surgeon in the mid-1980s, who began a 24-hour marathon to raise funds for his local American Cancer Society office and show support for all of his patients who had battled cancer. Since then, the event has spread to 20 countries worldwide, including the three Malaysian cities of Penang, Malacca, and Kuala Lumpur.
This year marks a decade since Penang began hosting the relay, in which participants camp out overnight around a track and take turns running laps, while also enjoying food and games. The relay features a Survivors Lap, where survivors are invited to circle the track together and celebrate caregivers; a Luminaria Ceremony, where a candlelight vigil is held to remember those lost to the disease; and a Fight Back Ceremony, where participants pledge to take action toward fighting the disease in their own lives, whether it may be taking a simple screening test or quitting smoking.
The annual event was inaugurated by Penang Chief Minister, Dato' Lim Guan Eng. SGM contributed some $1,678 (RM 5,230) to the Penang Branch of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia.
Earlier in the month, on June 10, SGM Pahang organized a campaign for promoting blood and organ donation at the SGM Pahang Culture Center in Kuantuan, where they invited Dr. Tee Hoi Poh, a gastroenterologist from Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan, to give a talk on organ donation. Some 200 people attended.
Dr. Tee emphasized that organ donation is still a far removed concept from people’s daily realities, until they are the ones in need of a transplant. He shared, “In my opinion, organ donation awareness is the first step, signing the form the second step, and through our compassionate act, someone receives our organ and enjoys a new lease of life.” Some 60 people signed up to become organ donors and blood donations were also given.
[Adapted from a report from Soka Gakkai Malaysia; photos courtesy of SGM]