The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Fiji group organized a CWP Fiji Pink Ribbon High Tea fundraiser in support of the Fiji Cancer Society Pinktober fundraising month in Parliament yesterday (Thursday 31 October).
Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Fiji members include Hon. Veena Bhatnagar (Chair), Hon. Salote Radrodro (Deputy Chair), Hon. Premila Kumar, Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Hon. Rosy Akbar, Hon. Ro Teimumu Kepa, Hon. Selai Adimaitoga, Hon. Lynda Tabuya, Hon. Lenora Qereqeretabua and Hon. Adi Litia Qionibaravi.
The Pink Ribbon High Tea is aimed at raising awareness and funds for the Fiji Cancer Society to provide for treatment, rehabilitation, counseling and support to cancer patients.
CWM Hospital General Surgeon, Dr Ilaitia Delasau and Vosita Katonivere, a cancer survivor also shared their experiences during the event.
Ms. Katonivere encouraged men and women to seek medical advice immediately and to heed the advice by medical experts once they detect signs of breast cancer.
“I had my surgery in February 2018 after 20 years denying that I have cancer,” she said.
She encouraged everyone that early detection and making the right choice to seek medical advice is critical.
Dr Ilaitia Delasau mentioned that it is important to treat cancer early. He said that men and women should be aware of their breasts and to examine their breasts regularly.
“It saddens me to see the number of women who are coming into my clinic with very late stages of cancer.”
“Knowing your breast, you can pick up early changes, and you can come and see us or see someone. Early detection allows us to investigate. You can’t stay home and pretend nothing has happened.”
“It’s a sad reality we’re seeing at the moment, its being a fight to get women to come early,” said Dr Delasau.
The event ended with the cutting of a Pinktober cake by members of Parliament from New Zealand (NZ) and Fiji including the Speaker for both Parliaments, and representatives of those who were present at the event.
CWP Member Hon Ro Teimumu Kepa during her welcoming remarks encouraged those present to give generously to support this worthy cause and support the Fiji Cancer Society fundraising this year in order to continue the good work they are doing.
“The CWP fundraising is to support the tremendous work the Fiji Cancer Society has been doing in their efforts in raising awareness, treatment, counselling and providing support to registered cancer patients and their families,” said Hon. Ro Teimumu Kepa.
Also in attendance during the event was the Speaker of the NZ Parliament and his delegation which comprises of Members of the NZ Parliament, High Commissioners of the government of Australia and New Zealand in Fiji, the Fijian Speaker and Parliament secretariat staff, representatives from the Fiji Cancer Society, UNDP representatives, Ministers and MPs of the Fijian Parliament, cancer survivors, Civil Society Organizations, Non- Government Organizations and other invited guests.