Joining hands to fight cancer
LAST WEEK witnessed a meaningful event in the fight against cancer in this country. A great partnership was forged between Makna and AirAsia to raise funds and increase awareness. Every year, thousands of Malaysians are afflicted by the disease and many, especially those from the lower rung of the socioeconomic ladder, face a daunting risk of not recovering from the scourge. It is not because the disease is untreatable, but more because they cannot afford proper treatment. This is indeed unfortunate if not most unfair.
Makna was founded to ensure that such incidents are mitigated as much as possible by providing support to cancer patients who are poor, as they take on what could be the biggest fight of their lives. Admittedly, Makna cannot do it alone especially when time is of the essence, and the numbers of those affected are beyond its reach. On average there are no fewer than 5,000 new cases that reach Makna yearly requesting for some financial aid to treat cancer patients, their travel to and from place of treatment, or even from survivors, who wish to continue with their education. Not surprisingly this number is expected to increase.
Combine this with the rising cost of living especially with an unfavourable economic situation and the introduction of GST, the challenge for Makna, and the thousands of patients, can be of grave concern. A case in point is when Makna’s recent application for exemption from paying GST was rejected. Consequently, it casts a more untenable shadow especially for the needy and destitute. As a not-forprofit organisation with a humanitarian mission we have no alternative but to appeal to be granted exemption from the GST, in the hope that it will eventually touch the hearts of the powers that be to empathise with the cancer sufferers. While it has been Makna’s practice to act with prudence to stretch every ringgit, any additional support goes a long way to ensure that more deserving patients are able to receive aid without any interruption and delay. In saving lives, and alleviating suffering, the importance of time cannot be overemphasised. A delay of a second could cost one or more lives and unwarranted agony. Such is the case to urgently lift GST in the fight against cancer.
As we wait for this to happen, Makna is not resting on its laurels. It is optimistic that every cloud has a silver lining and that goodwill and the generosity of donors can do miracles. This took place last week when Makna was humbled by AirAsia’s offer to match the noble mission of providing curative, preventive, research and support services to cancer patients, their families, high-risk groups and the general public.
AirAsia has lifted the Makna carrier in extending care and raised the flag of concern and awareness by taking pains to understand what cancer means to the lives of many in bringing comfort to them and their loved ones. Ultimately, this means cancer patients will have a better chance at survival, and thanks to the generosity, there is also a better chance at striking back against cancer. On this positive note and on behalf of everyone at Makna, including the patients under our care, we would like to once more say a heartfelt thank you to everyone at AirAsia, as well as the passengers who have made this possible, for the outstanding effort put in to give greater hope to the cancer patients.
In reality, however the war against the cancer scourge is far from over, and this means there is still plenty of room for other organisations to partner Makna as did AirAsia in realising the dream that “now every cancer patient can secure treatment”.
The writer is a member of Makna’s board of trustees. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org