MAHMOOD SANGLAY attended the media launch of the Wheel to Heal Cycle Tour which was conceived as an initiative to benefit people living with cancer and multiple sclerosis.
THE 560km cycling event from Mossel Bay to Cape Town is designed to raise R2-million for cancer and multiple sclerosis support and treatment programmes.
The inspiration for Wheel to Heal is Dr Elias Parker’s late wife, Mariam, who succumbed to cancer in July 2018 after a two-year long battle with the disease. In honouring the memory of his wife, Parker reached out not only to cyclists, but also to others who have survived cancer and the broader community. One such survivor of cancer is retired Judge Siraj Desai, the keynote speaker at the media launch on Monday September 26.
Judge Desai, whose wife also died of cancer in March 2018, emphasised the need for early detection and education regarding the treatment of cancer and living with the disease. He pointed out as citizens living in the most unequal society on earth, we have a responsibility to reach out to the poorest in our community to assist them in their encounter with cancer.
‘It is not only about the money, but about an advanced consciousness of what cancer and multiple sclerosis are all about,’ concluded Judge Desai.
The CEO of African Muslims Agency (AMA), Imraan Choonara, expressed confidence in the success of the event. He also underscored the importance of love for humanity, as exemplified by Dr Parker’s love for his wife and his efforts to draw from this emotion in order to benefit the poor and needy in society. This, says Choonara, is also the underlying philosophy of the humanitarian work undertaken by AMA locally and internationally.
Parker referenced data of the National Cancer Registry (NCR) which estimates that in 2020, almost 110 000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in South Africa, with more than 56 000 cancer-related deaths, representing a quarter of premature non-communicable disease–related mortality.
According to the registry South Africa’s incidence rate of 22.5 cases per 100 000 women for cervical cancer is well above the global rate of 15.8/100 000. Women in rural areas are more affected than those in urban areas. The mortality rates in rural areas are higher, both due to a lack of health education and proper health services.