Daily Observer (Jamaica)

Mobay readies for Icyline Wallace cancer walk/run

- BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON Staff reporter claytonr@jamaicaobs­erver.com

MONTEGO BAY, St James — THE Icyline Wallace Cancer Foundation is gearing up for its annual breast cancer walk/run in Montego Bay on October 15, said President Valmore Holt.

Holt told the Jamaica Observer that this year’s staging will be held under the theme ‘Think Pink and Support the Fight’, and that it promises to be an exciting event for those wanting to show their support for the cause. It will kick off at Sam Sharpe Square in downtown Montego Bay at 6:00 am.

The foundation was launched by Holt in 2010 after his mother, Icyline Wallace, lost her battle to stage four breast cancer. Holt told the Sunday Observer that he felt inclined to do something in his mother’s memory as he had shared a very close relationsh­ip with her.

Sharing that walk/run events were not very popular in western Jamaica during that time, Holt said that only a handful of people turned up for the first staging. However, he was determined to spread awareness of the deadly disease that affects people of both genders.

“She passed away in December of 2009. I talked to my family and we decided that this is what we wanted to do, so we did our first walk in 2010. We started at the airport and we walked back to Sam Sharpe Square, and everybody thought it was a short walk but it was only a handful of mostly family members,” said Holt.

Since then, Holt said the event has grown tremendous­ly and an annual walk/run has also been started in Kingston.

“A lot of individual­s from her church and the churches around Montego Bay showed up too [so] it has just grown from there. And we then saw that there was a need for it in Kingston so we started doing [a] Kingston walk, and this is going to be our fourth year doing a walk in Kingston. So the following week, on October 22, we’re going to be in Kingston walking on Spanish Town Road,” he told the Sunday Observer.

At the same time, Holt said he is proud that different corporate entities have since started hosting cancer walks/runs in the western parishes. He pointed out that more awareness was needed outside of the Corporate Area as a lot of people were still unaware that regular check-ups may save their lives.

“I am happy about this because when we first started, nobody was doing the cancer walks in western Jamaica but now a lot of companies are doing it and people are walking for a cause,” he said.

Holt continued, “Actually, when I first started asking around in downtown Montego Bay a lot of the women who are selling on the streets had never done a mammogram, so we are encouragin­g women and we are spreading the word that early detection saves lives.”

Referencin­g his mother’s fight against breast cancer, Holt told the Sunday Observer that the disease had already spread by the time it was detected.

He said that she first complained about lumps in her breast in 2004. However, they were told that they were not cancerous.

“She had lumps that kept coming back and she kept telling me about it. She went to the doctor and they would take it out, but it would always come back. They eventually removed the breast and they said they did a biopsy, but it

was not cancerous, so they did not give her any treatment,” he explained.

Three years later, the family learned that it was in fact breast cancer after she emigrated to the United States of America.

“She came to live with me in 2007 and my sister-in-law called to say I should ask my mom about a lump under her arm. I asked her and she raised her arm to show me a lump almost as big as an orange. I rushed her to the doctor the next day and he sent us to the hospital. They did a biopsy and it was stage four breast cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes,” said Holt.

“They tried everything — chemothera­py and radiation — and it went away, but it came back with a vengeance a year later in 2008. She had multiple tumours on her brain and liver,” he continued.

While heartbroke­n by her passing, Holt said that her diagnosis birthed a drive in him to raise awareness and help breast cancer survivors with this walk/run event. At the same time Holt coordinate­s a small session after the walk during which he gives breast cancer survivors small tokens for their participat­ion.

“I am from a poor family and I came here to better myself so I could help my family, and knowing that I couldn’t even give her anything sent me into a zombie stage. I was not myself, and I had to find something to feel like I am living again so this is what I do,” he told the Sunday Observer.

“A lot of gifts and giveaways will be available. We give away a lot of make-up sets, cologne, perfumes, and gadgets for the kids. We also give away prostheses because I remember when my mom removed her breast and she was stuffing her bra with some socks. I had to ask her why, and I bought her a prosthesis,” he said.

In addition to that, mastectomy bras will also be gifted to those who need them.

“If you are a survivor and you need this, come see us on October 15. Also, if…you cannot walk or run, still come and get your bra and prosthesis. We are going to do some nice things for survivors this year,” said Holt.

 ?? ?? Participan­ts in Icyline Wallace Cancer Foundation’s breast cancer walk/run event in 2022.
Participan­ts in Icyline Wallace Cancer Foundation’s breast cancer walk/run event in 2022.
 ?? ?? HOLT ... we are encouragin­g women and we are spreading the word
HOLT ... we are encouragin­g women and we are spreading the word

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica