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May 28, 2012

Walk with Cancer Society to bring awareness

This year’s annual cancer walk was bigger than ever. Thousands woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to walk from Ladyville to Belize City to build awareness for cancer. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, family members and friends of persons who are afflicted or who have lost their battle to the disease were among the massive crowd. News Five’s Isani Cayetano was also up bright and early for the sixteenth walk organized by the Belize Cancer Society.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The participation of Prime Minister Dean Barrow in this year’s Cancer Walk, as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the thousands of pedestrians who journeyed from Ladyville to Belize City at dawn on Saturday, was the climax of a nine-mile promenade.  His involvement succeeds that of his wife, Kim Simpliss Barrow, who is afflicted with stage three breast cancer.

 

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“It is my sense that the nation is engaged with this thing as never before.  I get the impression that this is perhaps the biggest walk ever and so it’s a privilege to have been able to take part in it even though I must confess, in the interest of full disclosure, that I did not go the whole way, not even halfway but I have as an excuse the fact that I brought my daughter with me.”

 

And so did many others who brought family members along with them for the annual pilgrimage.  The march is an effort initiated by the Belize Cancer Society in 1996 to politicize the many forms of this medical condition.

 

Angelica Marin, Participant

Angelica Marin

“I think that every year more and more people are becoming aware of cancer and I think it’s just their little contribution towards the cause.  I mean for myself I don’t have anybody with cancer in my family but I feel like with the more people that walk the more awareness is created and so, you know, that’s why I do it.”

 

According to Luverta Medina, organization of the event began on May 29th of last year, in the wake of its rising success.

 

Luverta Medina

Luverta Medina, Vice President, Belize Cancer Society

“Over the years the amount of people that have been walking have been growing so we have tried to find different strategic ways how to deal with the crowd as they increase.  We have began to partner with other people in Belize, like the Red Cross, BTB [and] Bowen & Bowen to assist us to facilitate, to hand out, you know, the refreshments and stuff along the way but it has been overwhelming.  Whenever we come up with something, something else [that’s] new comes up so we have to find more people to partner with as we go along because it’s getting

bigger and better.”

 

Despite its ever-increasing popularity, for P.M. Barrow, the short walk is sentimental.

 

Dean Barrow

“Very significant for me of course, given that my wife is battling with the disease and is even now in Miami undergoing radiation treatment. So, on that personal level, it’s very important.”

 

Just two years ago his wife was among the many faces in a sea of pedestrians promoting cancer awareness.  Today, she is currently away receiving treatment for breast cancer.

 

Luverta Medina

“His wife, Mrs. Kim Simpliss Barrow, right now is in radiation and so his support is outward we can see it you know but the prime minister has always been behind the Belize Cancer Society.  Mrs. Barrow has been supporting us.  She has been part of the walk for more than five years and this is great.  This is time for the people of Belize to know that besides the prime minister being the leader of a country he is also a man.”

 

…a husband and his daughter left to carry on what has become a family tradition his wife began several years ago. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

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