KUALA LUMPUR: More than 700 spirited cyclists kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Malaysia with the Pink Ribbon Fun Ride here today.
Clad in vibrant pink jerseys bearing the slogan ‘Because We Care’, the riders powered through a 25km route which began and ended at the New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) Balai Berita headquarters at Jalan Riong, Bangsar.
Participants cycled through downtown KL and passed major landmarks such as Dataran Merdeka, Bukit Bintang and KLCC.
Before the flag-off, Wacoal Malaysia executive director Tsutomu Fujimura praised the participants, which included eight cancer survivors, for taking part in the fun ride.
He said the cyclists could help raise awareness of the disease along their journey through the city centre, as motorists and pedestrians would be able to see their message.
“Can you imagine… masses of riders in pink, with a message. People will ask what it is, and wonder what it is (all about).
“There are also a few pit stops along the way to lift the spirits of our riders, including those with cheerleading teams,” he said.
Today’s event, which marked the fifth consecutive year of collaboration between Wacoal Malaysia and New Straits Times (NST), was launched by Fujimura and NST executive editor Muzli Mohd Zin.
The race was flagged-off by both Fujimura and Muzli, as well as NSTP chief commercial officer, Alfian Abu Thalib.
“I am deeply moved by the overwhelming number of participants (who turned out for) this unique, fun ride which is open to everyone.
“While we advocate for, and contribute towards the physical well-being of Malaysian women, the event also celebrates cultural diversity and unity,” Fujimura said.
Meanwhile, Alfian said that he hopes the collaboration between the two companies would be expanded further by penetrating rural communities in Malaysia.
The potential expansion, he said, could also look into the care of breast cancer patients and creating a more informed community on cancer-related issues.
“We can’t deny that cancer awareness is more focused in urban areas. Awareness is lacking when it comes to rural areas.
“We will explore this collaboration further, holding fun rides in Ipoh, Kuantan and even stretching it to Kota Baru, in tandem with the ride here.
“(We will get closer) to society in creating awareness,” he added.
Others present at today’s event include Wacoal Malaysia’s deputy general manager Lo Yean Feein and NSTP advertising general manager Roche Chew.
Breast cancer remains a major killer among Malaysian women. According to national cancer statistics, approximately one in 19 Malaysians is at risk of developing the disease.
Early detection is key, as the survival rate for breast cancer is as high as 85 per cent, with appropriate treatment.
Since its incorporation in 2003, Wacoal Malaysia has been championing the Pink Ribbon drive every October to promote the active prevention of the illness.