Celebrating its silver anniversary this year, the Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer has its eyes set on drawing a record crowd on 28 October 2023.
Dating back to 1998, the first Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer started with the participation of not more than 500 people. From this humble base, the event has grown over the years and reached more than 13 000 participants in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic prevented physical participation.
However, since the first walk, the purpose remained clear. "We walk in aid of supporting cancer related organisations and we are pleased to have positively impacted our beneficiaries over the years. The proceeds from the Algoa FM Big Walk for cancer has fulfilled many organisations' needs over the last 25 years," said Alfie Jay, Algoa FM Managing Director.
The Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer aims to celebrate survivors, and honour loved ones undergoing treatment while remembering those who succumbed to the disease. "We also strive to empower our listeners with knowledge and understanding of the risk factors, early detection methods, and treatment options available through various activations," said Jay.
Last year close-on 11 000 people joined the Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer in Gqeberha, East London and George. "We would like to see more people join the activity this year," he added.
Jay said that the Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer would not have been able to reach its objectives if it had not been for the unwavering support from sponsors and partners. "Thank you to ISUZU Motors South Africa, our long-time supporter who has come on board this year as our presenting partner. I also thank the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, MTN, aQuellé, the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, the Courier Guy and Value Added Life for your support," said Jay.
ISUZU has extended its sponsorship over a three-year period with the release of six vehicles for the purpose of the Big Walk. ISUZU Motors South Africa President and CEO, Billy Tom said the collaboration with Algoa FM emphasises ISUZU's commitment to the community in which the company operates. "Driven by our commitment to make a meaningful impact within the communities in which we operate, ISUZU is honoured to be the presenting partner for the Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer. This walk resonates with our employees and their families who are the heart and soul of our business and who show up in record numbers to participate each year. This is more than just a walk to us. It's an opportunity to take action, celebrate life, to show honour and support and to positively impact the beneficiaries of the event," said Tom.
Beneficiaries of the 2023 Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer are Wings and Wishes and Reach for a Dream. Reach for a Dream requested laptops and tablets to be used by children who are undergoing long-term treatment and are unable to attend class. The second beneficiary, Wings and Wishes, requested support towards transport costs.
"We are excited to have been approved as a beneficiary of the Algoa FM Big Walk for Cancer. This donation will provide our dreamers with the opportunity to connect with their families while in hospital, do research as well as complete school assignments, learn, and develop as they have access to the world. It gives them a future perspective which is so important in manifesting hope while they undergo treatment," Lwanele Mpeta, Reach for a Dream Eastern Cape Regional Manager.
Inge Human, Manager at Wings and Wishes said the organisation provides transportation support to children who need to travel outside their hometown for lifesaving treatment. "Many of our patients come from extremely rural areas of the Eastern Cape, and getting them to and from their appointments and treatments, costs about R20 000 per month. Most of the treatments are only offered at Frere Hospital in East London or the Provincial Hospital in Gqeberha, while patients often require specialised cancer treatment and scans which are only available at Hospitals in Cape Town and Bellville," she explained.
In addition to this support, Jay said Algoa FM would like to fulfil 25 dreams to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the event.