KAMPALA – Hundreds of people from Uganda and beyond on Sunday, September 5, 2022, thronged Kololo Independence Grounds, taking part in the 11th edition of the much sought-after annual Cancer Run marathon.
According to organizers, the 11th edition attracted close to 40,000 runners from over 35 towns and countries including Bujumbura, Kigali, Dubai, Dar es Salaam, Beijing, Sudan, Nigeria, and Libya.
Others were New Delhi, Mombasa, and Khartoum.
Through the Cancer Run for the past 11 years, Rotary and its partners have sought to continue the fight against cancer in Uganda. This year, the aim of the run will be to build bunkers that will house the modern cancer screening and testing machines at Nsambya Hospital.
The construction of the bunkers commenced in May 2022, however, there is still a big gap of UGX 11.8billion that needs to be raised for the construction. These bunkers will house 2 ultra-modern linear accelerators which are cancer testing and treatment machines.
Speaking at the marathon ceremony, Fabian Kasi the Managing Director of Centenary Bank cited the importance of such marathons whose sole aim is to better the treatment of cancer a leading killer disease. “I believe we can work towards improving this, and the participation exhibited is proof that indeed together we can improve the treatment and care of cancer in the country.”
He further noted that Centenary Bank bought into the vision of Rotary Uganda 11 years ago and still believes in the same cause today. “We have partnered with Rotary Uganda for the past eleven years to support this run and this year; we have contributed UGX 150 million shillings towards the cause. Cancer has had an impact on each and every Ugandan both directly and indirectly. The onus is therefore on us to join forces and wage war on the incapacities in our health systems to treat this disease that has ravaged our households,” Kasi noted.
The chief runner the Rotary International president Jennifer Jones appreciated Ugandans for their love and support towards the cause of improving the health system in Uganda. “I am a survivor of cancer and I strongly believe that with the right treatments in place and with early detection, we can get rid of cancer in the country.”
The run has in the past recorded tremendous achievements; from the well-equipped 36-bed cancer treatment Centre at Nsambya Hospital worth UGX1.5 billion, to a Rotary Blood Bank; The Rotary Cancer Run has enjoyed years of global participation and this year started the construction of the two bunkers.
Over the years, the Rotary Cancer Run has attracted over 50,000 participants annually from Uganda and the diaspora who have supported either through direct donations, charity drives or by attending the run to raise funds to set up facilities for Cancer treatment in Uganda. We hope there will be more of you joining us this year.
Speaking during the event at Kololo, the Chair Board of Trustees, Rotary Cancer Program, Stephen Mwanje expressed Rotary’s gratitude for the support from Ugandans and people from all over the world over for running virtually. He said that
“We have seen participation in the Cancer run grow from 100 participants to 50,000 participants annually in and outside Uganda. This year we have Bujumbura, Kigali, Dubai, Dar es Salaam, Beijing, Sudan, Nigeria, Libya, New Delhi, Mombasa, and Khartoum. All this has been achieved because of your relentless effort.”
“The collections being made this year will be directed towards the construction of two bunkers at Nsambya Hospital that will be housing the 2 cancer testing and treatment machines we hope to import in the near future,” Mwanje emphasized, adding that, “Given the impact of Cancer on our countrymen and the region, the bigger picture for Rotary is that, upon completion of the setup of the cancer testing and treatment center in Kampala, we will continue to work with other players in this fight and cover other regions in the country to reduce the cancer burden affecting our people. In addition to building of bunkers, we are also focusing on training of the medical staff to improve on their skills in cancer treatment.
This year’s Rotary Cancer Run attracted endorsements from different entities urging the people to partake in this year’s as we come together to fight against cancer. Among these endorsements included the Katikiro of Buganda Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga on behalf of Buganda Kingdom.
The trends observed at the Uganda Cancer Institute show almost 80 per cent of patients present the disease in advanced stages, hence limited interventions to prolong survival, an indication that the level of knowledge in the public and their perception of cancer, its symptoms, where to access treatment, and the care by the general practitioners is lacking.
The 11th edition of the annual Rotary Cancer Run was sponsored by the Parliament of Uganda, Centenary Bank and supported by New Vision, Rwenzori Bottling Company, MaadMcaan, among others.
This is an annual event organized since 2012 by Rotarians to bridge the gap in the fight against the cancer scourge. From its inception, the run has raised Shs 2.3 billion and many other forms of support in kind rendered to facilitate the fight against cancer in Uganda.