Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: A wave of colour will descend on the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club [KLGCC] when players, officials and spectators at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
To date, the tournament has raised in excess of RM2 million for Cancer Research Malaysia. The support is thanks to the tournament’s principle benefactor, the Sime Darby Foundation, which sees that all proceeds are donated to the charity, while organising a series of fund-raising and awareness building initiatives in the process.
Billed as ‘the nation’s most fun golf event’, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will take place from October 8-11 at KLGCC, a Golf Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation. The third day of the event is labelled as Pink Saturday.
The Konica Minolta Chip4Charity will return, giving fans the chance to chip balls from a platform onto a floating green on the West Course lake – and win some great prizes in the process; there are fund-raising and society luncheons in stall. Meanwhile, the tournament’s Women with Drive Instagram competition, encouraging people to post a picture of the woman that provides the drive in their life, has been launched.
The funding has supported a number of cancer research and support initiatives undertaken by the team at Cancer Research Malaysia. One such example is the on-going More than a Mammo programme, which to date has enabled more than 2,000 Malaysian women to receive a subsidised mammogram.
Vital data from this study has enabled Cancer Research Malaysia to collaborate with top international researchers in the biggest study of its kind, led by Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
The global collaboration has led to the discovery of 21 new genetic variations that raise the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as reported recently in the scientific journal – Nature Genetics. This translates to improved cancer screening and prevention, helping women predict with higher accuracy, if they are more susceptible to developing the disease.
Another example is the Patient Navigation Programme. Through the development of information brochures, decision aids and a new one-stop centre for breast cancer patients – the Pink Ribbon Clinic at the Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang – Cancer Research Malaysia is now able to support low income breast cancer patients by helping them remove barriers to ensure completion of treatment.
The driving force behind the work of the charity is Chief Executive, Professor Dr Teo Soo Hwang. Speaking about the impact that Cancer Research Malaysia is having in the battle against breast cancer in Malaysia, she said: “Every minute, one woman dies of breast cancer. Thankfully, through research, we now know more about breast cancer than we did before. Through our patient navigation centre, we are removing the financial, logistical and cultural barriers to proper treatment so that the survival of breast cancer patients in our country can be improved.
“Through our research on mammography screening and breast cancer genes, we hope to be able to target mammography screening and prevention of breast cancer to women who are at highest risk. By combining this with better treatment, we know that we can ensure that more than nine out of 10 breast cancer patients can survive more than five years.”
Commenting on the partnership with the tournament, Professor Teo added: “Our partnership with the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, together with the support we receive from the Sime Darby Foundation, has been a critical factor in enabling us to carry out important research. The LPGA players continue to be wonderful ambassadors for our cause and have been instrumental in helping us to break down some of the social taboos that come with breast cancer in Malaysia.”
One such player is world number 14 Cristie Kerr who set up her own Birdies for Breast Cancer organisation in 2003 having witnessed her mother, aunt and godmother fight the disease. Said Kerr: “Congratulations to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia for its continued support for breast cancer research and treatment in Malaysia. The tournament’s commitment to such a worthwhile cause lends it a very special feel and one that all the players on the LPGA Tour have a great deal of respect for. It’s wonderful to see sport and charity working hand in hand together.”
Chairman of the Sime Darby Foundation, Tun Musa Hitam said: “The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia’s partnership with Cancer Research Malaysia is critical to the success of the tournament. Not only does it provide the tournament with its own unique identify, but it also provides us with a very clear purpose.
“Directly or indirectly, cancer affects everyone at some stage in life. Through our partnership with the LPGA Tour and Cancer Research Malaysia, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is committed to making a positive impact in the battle against cancer in this country and around the world. We encourage as many people as possible to come and show their support at this year’s tournament.”