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Dominican Republic: Cancer Awareness Campaigns

In many countries, October is breast cancer prevention month, an event that is celebrated with dedicated websites, special television programs, lectures, medical conferences, and the distribution of pamphlets and flyers with information of interest. These resources always emphasize the importance of self-examinations and what risk factors should be considered.

In the Dominican Republic, there has been more awareness about this disease. Since October 2006, from the Office of the First Lady [es], Dr. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández has become a chief spokesperson for the cause of breast cancer and has launched an annual campaign called “Today is the Best Time. [es]” The campaign calls on women to take care of their health and some of the activities includes conferences and lectures around the country. In addition, flyers have been distributed and mammograms have been offered.

Photo of campaign launch. Used with permission by Office of the First Lady.

Photo of campaign launch. Used with permission by Office of the First Lady.

The campaign culminated with a benefit fashion show by Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera, who praised the First Lady's initiative [es], and supported the proposal that “Today is the best day” become the global slogan to call attention to this disease. In her press conference, Herrera, who also is part of the international initiative SER, which supports awareness on a global scale, made a call to unite the various worldwide campaigns.

There are also campaigns to raise awareness about all types of cancer, one of these is called Caminantes por la Vida [es] (Walkers for Life), is a walk through the streets of the capital city Santo Domingo, which is celebrating its 4th version. Caminantes por la Vida is an initiative started by MercaSID, a food services and household products company, which has been raising funds for volunteer services, hospitals, cancer prevention groups. This year the campaign is called “Esta Va por Todos” (This is for Everyone).

Video of the 2008 post-walk event by Jorge Valdez

These types of campaigns are important to many Dominicans whose lives are personally affected by cancer. The blogger Principe Mestizo has had many loved ones affected by various forms of cancer [es], and values campaigns that will raise awareness:

Mi tío Juan, prominente abogado de aproximadamente 32 años , cayo victima de un cáncer en el área del estomago que se expandió a varios órganos y que finalmente hizo que Juan dejara este plano, dejándome múltiples enseñanzas, valorando y admirando a mi familia que en un momento de una crisis de esa magnitud, se unió como un solo cuerpo para ayudar a salir adelante al Benjamín de los hermanos de mi padre, y para el (mi papa) otro hijo mas.

Años después, otro hermano de mi Papa caia victima de la enfermedad (Tio Chichi) y de nuevo me toco ver….ya mas adulto otra cara de la enfermedad.

Lo Primero que hay que aclarar es que cuando en una familia alguien tiene Cáncer, toda la familia por defecto esta con Cáncer.

My Uncle Juan, a prominent 32-year-old lawyer, fell victim to stomach cancer, which spread to various organs and finally caused him to leave this earth, leaving me with many lessons, valuing and admiring my family because during a crisis of this magnitude they became united as one in order to help their youngest sibling, who was like a son to my father.

Years later, another of my father's brothers (Uncle Chichi) also became diagnosed with cancer and once again, this time as a grown-up,  I saw another face of this disease.

What must be clear is that when one person in the family has cancer, the entire family, by default, has cancer.

Translation by Eduardo Ávila

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