KUALA LUMPUR: A group of volunteers had their heads shaved bald at The Curve Shopping Mall's centre court recently.
It marked the end of the National Cancer Council's three-month (Makna) "Jom Botak: Trek for Cancer" campaign which raised close to RM235,000. The money will be used to help financially-challenged cancer patients.
The national cancer awareness and fundraising campaign involved 450 individuals who had their heads shaven for free by hairdressers of A Cut Above. It was a simple and meaningful way to show cancer patients that they were not alone in their fight against cancer.
In addition, seven men made the perilous journey to the volcanic region of Kamchatka, Russia, to climb the Avachinsky, Mutnovsky and Gorely mountains to promote cancer awareness.
The participants in the Aug 3 to 9 expedition were Makna senior manager Vemanna Appannah, and volunteers Eugene Lee, Samhan Adnan, Mohammad Yahya Zakaria, Subramaniam Gunasegaran, Benjamin Goon and Prakash Malaiyappan.
Datuk Dr Arunan Selvaraj, who spearheaded the campaign, was unable to take part because he had a slip disc a few days before the team departed for Russia.
Kamchatka was the destination of choice because a lot of damage is done to surrounding areas when a volcano erupts and it takes a long time to recover. This reflects the challenging life journeys that cancer patients go through.
"Kamchatka is a little known region in the far east of Russia with many active volcanoes and few inhabitants," said Vemanna.
"Though it was a challenging trek, it boosted the spirit of the team as we believe the journey taken by cancer patients is unimaginable, yet many emerge triumphant.
"They manage to survive even though the odds are stacked against them. We are going bald today to say symbolically that this (cancer) too will pass.
"In its 18 years of existence, Makna has flourished. We have receive more than 4000 applications a year from 88 government hospitals nationwide.
"Donations received ensure uninterrupted supply of financial assistance, surgical equipment, liquid food, prostheses and prescribed drugs for poor cancer patients and educational scholarships for young cancer patients," said Makna president Datuk Mohd Farid Ariffin.