PHOTOS BY VICTORIA MELITA ZAMMIT
Despite the somewhat dreary weather, members and supporters of Europa Donna Malta, the European breast cancer coalition, still came out and resolutely pitched their tents in the name of raising awareness about breast cancer in the square of St. Julian’s Baystreet complex on October 3rd. The sea of baby pink shirts, objects for sale and tent covers contrasted with the otherwise grey demeanour of the morning; a good metaphor that reflects what Europa Donna does for so many women and, let us not forget, men on a daily basis – gives courage to those who are in the midst of adversity.
The organisation has been diligently working throughout the years to disseminate information about breast cancer in the form of leaflets, talks, and events like the one happening in Baystreet. Information is always key; and it the case of breast cancer, it can greatly help to reduce the risk of not only catching the cancer at an early stage, but also it can help prevent having breast cancer altogether. “Women must start checking their breasts for lumps since an early an age as sixteen. They must also lead a healthy lifestyle by eating plenty of fruit and veg, trying to eat red meat only once a week, and doing exercise – even if it’s just going for a walk,” commented Europa Donna President, Gertrude Abela.
Events such as these also help in negating the idea that breast cancer is an insurmountable obstacle which can only lead to one possible, fatal, conclusion. “On the contrary”, Mrs. Abela claimed, “if breast cancer is caught at its beginning, there is an extremely high chance of survival”. In addition, the main objective of these events is to provide a space where people who have in some way experienced what it is like to have breast cancer, and who are still experiencing it, can find each other and relate to one another in a way only they can. The existence of organisations such as Europa Donna is crucial to both breast cancer patients and to survivors for this very reason.
Europa Donna has always tried to be as present as it could within Malta, and October, the international month for breast cancer awareness, is loaded with their events; these include the annual Hilda Schembri Memorial lecture on the 15th, the also annual Silhouette Walk on the 13th, and an innovative ‘Awareness through Art’ exhibition which is going to be held at Cittadella, Gozo starting 19th October amongst others.
For further information about Europa Donna and about any of their upcoming events, check out their website www.europadonnamalta.org.mt.