By Sheila Seiler
Next month, BEAN will be hosting China’s first Pretty in Pink Ball to raise awareness about breast cancer
Breast cancer became the most prominent cancer in the mainland earlier this year, with reported cases estimated at approximately 470,000, only 20 percent of which were diagnosed in the early stages.
And so it’s no surprise that US born Vicky Ma wants to raise awareness of this growing condition, and help women who are suffering from one of the world’s biggest killers. “It could be a mother, a sister, a wife, a girlfriend, a friend, or even a husband, a father, a brother, or a boyfriend. Breast cancer will reach someone you know if it hasn’t already. We need to do our part to raise awareness and teach about the dangers of this disease so people can have the tools to fight it.”
Vicky’s investment in this cause is deeply personal, her mother being a two-time survivor of breast cancer. “Seeing my mother struggle not once, but twice with this disease gave me a scary appreciation of how difficult the fight can be. Even if and when the body heals, a woman’s image of herself is still wounded and can take a much longer time to heal.”
“When cancer reared its ugly head the second time around, [my mother] was shocked and saddened and ready to give up. Breast cancer is a disease that not only attacks the body, but also a woman’s psyche. It eats right into the heart of what it takes to be a woman,” she says.
And so Vicky has spent the past two months working with a team of friends and BEAN volunteers to organise China’s first-ever Pretty in Pink Ball. Inspired by an event hosted in Hong Kong by the similarly named ‘Pretty ‘n’ Pink’ registered charity (www.prettynpink.org) who organise charity galas all over the world to raise money for breast cancer patients and research, she walked away inspired.
The Pretty in Pink Shanghai event, which will take place in early November, will feature an auction, raffle, a DJ, and bands as well as food presentations from four celebrated local chefs, including Brad Turley from Goga and Madison’s Austin Hu.
Funds will go to the China Breast Cancer Foundation, which works to promote awareness, educate doctors in second and third-tier cities, organise walk-a-thons, run phone banks to provide support, organise volunteer visits to cancer centres, and fund life-saving surgeries for indigent women. The CBCF will provide complete transparency of funds, which will go in RMB 10,000 increments as grants to impoverished women across China who cannot pay for their breast cancer treatment without financial support.
For more information about the rise of breast cancer in China, check out http://visualization.geblogs.com/visualization/breastcancer_china.
Prevention tips for avoiding breast cancer
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a low-fat diet
- Don’t consume excessive levels of alcohol
- If you’re 40+, make appointments for regular screenings