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Feb 5, 2019

World Cancer Day – “I Am, I Will”

“I am; I will” is this year’s theme for World Cancer Day. Every year, across the globe, there is an observance to bring awareness about the importance of prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer. This year, the theme encourages everyone to take responsibility and know their status. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The international observance of World Cancer Day is celebrated on February fourth, but locally, the folks over at the Belize Cancer Society use the entire week to reemphasize the issue of cancer and how it is affecting Belizeans. The theme for 2019 is “I am and I will,” which pushes personal responsibility in knowing your status.


Heather Reneau

Heather Reneau, Senior Administrator, Cancer Society

“It empowers individuals wherever you are, it doesn’t matter who you are, what status you have, what job you have, you have the power to change the information that you put out there. You have the power to empower your neighbours, your friends, your colleagues to make that healthy choice, to try to make sure that they are being self-aware; that they learn about cancer, their doing their screenings, they have that education and that mindset that I am going to make a difference in my life and my family’s life starting today.”


The statistics over the years remain the same in terms of the cancers affecting men and women; there is also an increasing number of children being diagnosed with cancers.


Heather Reneau

“Our population keeps growing so we are having more and more persons affected by cancers. The leading cancers are still prostate for males, colon [cancers]; for females, breast and cervical. And for children, leading cancers are leukaemia and lymphomas and we are having more children affected by cancer. This is something that is very worrisome for us because we know the financial burden of cancer is absolutely severe. So on World Cancer Day we push the education and the awareness. The purpose of this day is to get the message out there. I am telling you that anybody could be advocate, survivors, family members, community activists—once you have something to say, you get out there, whichever platform: if you have social media. The cancer Society is running a #IamIwill campaign on social media and you can see the exchanges. There are cancer patients going up there and saying couple years ago, I thought I would have died, but with the support of my family and my friends, I am still here fighting this decease. And that is what World Cancer Day is about. It shows collaboration, that empowerment, that collective support for individuals battling cancer.”


The Belize Cancer Society serves as the advocate for patients and has been for years working with partner organizations and agencies to assist those in need of treatment.


Heather Reneau

“Our Belizean children have direct access into the hospitals in Merida. So when they are diagnosed with cancer, they are simply referred by their doctors to the Society, we prepare their packages and we send them over. We alert the hospital that expects them before they even reach the hospital. This is a blessing for the children of Belize because they need to access care out of the country. We have to say thank you to the Dangriga Cancer Centre because after a child gets to a stage that they are manageable, sometimes you are able to access treatment in Belize instead of having to travel out of the country which is an absolute strain on the family. We have to say thank you to all our social partners.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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