Gov. Ralph DLG Torres designated yesterday at Hopwood Middle School in Chalan Piao the week of May 9 to 12, 2018, as Marianas March Against Cancer Week.
The proclamation signing paves the way for the two-day 16th Annual Marianas March Against Cancer, which starts at 5pm of May 11 and lasts until 5am of May 12 at the Hopwood field.
Torres said he is thankful to the CNMI leadership and community for making the fight against cancer a priority.
“Each one of us…actually know someone dealing with cancer and what they need is more love, patience and our presence. To all the students here, in due time it is your leadership that will be up here and hopefully fighting a different cause because by then, we hope to have eradicated cancer in the CNMI,” he said.
Inspired by MMAC’s perpetual theme of “One community, one journey,” 2018 MMAC committee co-chair Bobby Cruz said the reality is that cancer impacts everyone.
“In 2012, 14 million worldwide lost their love ones to cancer. Research tells us that that number is going to rise to 21 million by 2030. …There’s a good chance that you or your friend is going to have deal with cancer. So this fight is our fight. What can we do when the year 2030 comes? We hope and pray that we don’t have to deal with cancer in the CNMI,” he added.
2018 MMAC committee co-chair Carline Sablan said the number of cancer patients in the CNMI continue to rise.
“In 2016, the number of clients served by the Commonwealth Cancer Association was 97 and a year later in 2017, that number rose to a 161. There was a 66-percent increase in just one year,” Sablan said. “The rise from 97 to 161 are too high for a small community like ours. Even one is too high. I encourage everyone to take some time this week to reflect on this because it really is impacting our community.”
Last year, MMAC raised a record amount of $200,000. This year, 20 teams and 18 team captains are leading the fundraising efforts and have garnered 34 sponsors to date.
According to sponsor chair Nola Hix, all teams do fundraising all year long.
“The good thing about it is, every year, we try to break the previous year’s performance, like we had 18 teams last year and 20 teams for this year… There are sponsors who commit to help at the night of [event] for the following year and there’s a lot of our loyal teams that participate every year.”
“The sponsors donate whatever they can—whether it be just logistics…cash, or in-kind because every donation helps,” she added.
Commonwealth Cancer Association president Bo Palacios gives thanks to the community for believing in their mission.
“The MMAC committee is committed to raise funds. …We spend it to help your loved ones in our fight against cancer…we are in charge of cancer education, advocacy, patient navigation and client services,” he said.
“Given our funding levels, we are not able to offer actual money but we do help with nutrition assistance and other items when the cancer patient needs a wheelchair or bed and other incidentals.”