Pink is everywhere this October, as Costa Ricans are joining together to raise awareness about breast cancer, the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths for women worldwide. By the end of 2011, 1,000 women will have been diagnosed with breast cancer, according to health officials.
The month’s events kicked off Oct. 2 with the popular “Run for Breast Cancer Awareness” race in San José. More than 12,000 people, all dressed in pink, participated. Funds will be donated to Anasovi and Fundacancer, two organizations working to improve the lives of cancer patients (TT, Sep 16).
The Ana Gabriela Ross Foundation also held its eighth “Walk Against Breast Cancer” on Oct. 8. More than 32,000 people walked or ran from San José’s Parque Central to La Sabana Park, on the capital’s western edge.
“People may think that fundraising is the most important part of these activities, but to us, the main objective is to show that we are concerned about this problem. Last year, almost 300 women died of breast cancer in Costa Rica,” foundation president Fabiola Ross said.
This week, the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja) also helped raise awareness about breast cancer. In a forum organized by the Caja on Monday, cancer
survivors shared their experiences. Caja doctors were also on hand this week to answer questions and help provide free information to the public.
Activities continue throughout the month to help raise funds. Another race, “Juntos por la cura” (“Together For a Cure”) will be held on Saturday. Proceeds will be donated to the Ana Gabriela Ross Foundation. The race includes 10-kilometer and 5-km runs, and a 2-km walk. The 10-km race starts in front of the National Stadium in La Sabana Park, and the 5-km run and 2-km walk start at Walmart in Escazú, west of San José.
“There are a number of other events, including conferences, workshops, and soccer and tennis tournaments. On Oct. 25 we will donate mammography equipment to the Caja,” Ross said.
“Aprendo por mi Vida” (“I Learn for My Life”) is the last of the month’s races, scheduled for Oct. 23. The race is organized by cosmetics company Avon, and funds will be donated to the national Foundation for Solidarity Against Breast Cancer. Last year, the race generated more than ₡15 million ($29,000) for the organization.
The Costa Rican Railroad Institute is supporting efforts by dressing trains in pink to encourage early detection. The Pink Movement program, organized by supermarket chain Automercado, is also hosting a number of activities this weekend.
Plaza del Sol in Curridabat, an eastern suburb of San José, will host activities Oct. 15-16 to highlight preventive measures and the importance of early detection.
“The goal is to sponsor Proyecto Lazos, a project to offer a mobile clinic with mammography equipment. The clinic will travel to remote areas of Costa Rica where people have little or no access to these kinds of tests to provide mammograms at accessible rates,” said Mauricio Solís, social action director at the Clínica Bíblica Hospital, another program sponsor.