Fiji’s Biggest Morning Tea
Nothing like a nice, big, hot cuppa. Lots of people felt that way walking into Motibhai & Co Ltd offices where Bushells Fiji’s Biggest Morning Tea was being held. The atmosphere grew more and more purposeful as more and more people arrived. The Motibhai group in partnership with the Fiji Cancer Society hosted the morning tea. The first pot poured towards fighting cancer was in 2006 and the mission to spread awareness and give support has expanded throughout the years. At the Motibhai‘s 2017 tea everyone was soon talking about how they got involved in the charity or how their lives had been affected by cancer. The formal programme began with a number of people speaking on topics to help raise awareness about cancer and to promote the work in Fiji to make sure ‘No One Fights Alone’. Abraham Gomes, Motibhai marketing and business manager began with a minute’s silence to remember those who have lost the battle with the disease. His message was on how important it is to give people hope as well as support through hard times. The Fiji Ministry of Health provided statistics showing that cancer is more common than people may think, affecting more than 1,000 people a year. In 2016, breast cancer was the most common form of the disease affecting 41% of female cancer cases. Important in curbing these increasing figures is the need for early detection – which starts with education at home. The Ministry expressed its appreciation for the help with providing patients with medical and emotional support. A moving moment was when Nanise and her husband spoke about how her cancer had affected their lives at home. Nanise was seven months pregnant with the couple’s fifth child when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in May 2016. She
travelled to India in September when the baby was one month old to have treatment, leaving her husband with their children. “I’d like to thank every one of you for supporting this cause, I was so thankful this morning when I arrived and saw the slogan ‘No one fights alone’. It really spells out my experience. I now know that I do not stand alone,” Nanise’s husband said. He described how he had looked after their children, making sure they went to school. “It is deeply felt in a family when a mother is absent because the most common word heard in a household is ‘Mum’. I tried my best to not only be their father but also their mother.” He said sometimes the children wouldn’t eat and would be wondering whether their mother would come back alive and well. “But today we look at my wife and she is fit and healthy and in the clear.” The Fiji Cancer Society is a non-profit organisation and relies on funding from events such as the Big Morning Teas. “Last year at the Bushells Fiji’s Biggest Morning Tea we raised over $61,000,” a society representative said. “We also had a lot more community organisations joining in, which is key in spreading the word.” While raising money to aid cancer patients is a big part of the Fiji Cancer Society’s work, an important aspect is spreading the message and educating more Fijians about the disease. Bushell’s new incentive for 2017 is to donate 5c to the Fiji Cancer Society for every purchase of their teabags. The charity is encouraging morning teas in workplace offices by providing companies with free starter kits. If for some reason tea and cake is not your thing you can also show your support by purchasing the charity’s own merchandise.