KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is launching a cycling event this Sunday to raise funds for nonprofit ROSE Foundation in aid of cervical cancer elimination in Sarawak.
Sepeda Amal Borneo 2023 will see 20 cyclists, including two cancer survivors and one above-knee amputee, riding more than 700 from Kuching to Bintulu.
The flag-off ceremony will be graced by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Nancy Shukri in the Sarawak state capital of Kuching.
In conjunction with Sepeda Amal Borneo 2023, ROSE Foundation will offer free cervical screening tests via its revolutionary Program ROSE, a self-screening programme, to all women at over 10 locations across Sarawak.
These screening tests are sponsored by Etiqa Cares as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Cervical cancer is the third commonest cancer among women in Malaysia; Sarawak recorded the highest incidence of cervical cancer in the past five years. Many cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage and 75 per cent are below the age of 65.
Over the last five years, Malaysia has demonstrated a strong commitment to cervical cancer elimination, with the publication of an “Action Plan Towards Cervical Cancer Elimination in Malaysia’ in 2021, encompassing the adoption of HPV DNA testing utilising self-sampling approach for cervical screening, MMA said in a statement today.
Program ROSE, a community-centric cervical screening programme, complements this effort by offering a simple self-swab that is quick, simple, and painless, unlike the conventional pap test.
Samples are then sent to the ROSE laboratory for HPV PCR testing, with the results communicated via SMS or WhatsApp within three weeks. ROSE’s contact centre will refer women who test positive for HPV to government hospitals for follow-up.
“My hope is that Sepeda Amal Borneo will be an annual event that not only raises funds for charity, but also draws people to the Borneo states – Sabah and Sarawak – especially in the often-forgotten interior regions,” said Dr Timothy Cheng, an orthopaedic surgeon in Sandakan, Sabah and founder of MMA’s annual charity cycling programme.
“It is also a great way to reconnect with the amazing nature, sunrises and sunsets, the wonderfully warm people, and delicious local traditional food. You haven’t seen Malaysia until you have ridden through Malaysian Borneo.”
Program ROSE founder Prof Dr Woo Yin Ling, who is also a consultant gynaecological oncologist, said cyclists chose one of the roughest terrains in Malaysia for the fundraiser.
“What we hope to achieve is to bring Program ROSE to women in Sarawak so that they don’t have to make long trips to healthcare facilities to get screened,” she was quoted saying in the MMA statement.
“We thank the Sepeda Amal Borneo cyclists and volunteers for enabling more women in Sarawak the opportunity to be screened by Program ROSE. This ensures that more women can be protected against cervical cancer.”
MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai urged companies and the general public to support the fundraiser.
“ROSE works closely with local community champions to bring screening directly to women in their local village, longhouse, and rural communities. Once women participate in this program, it is life-changing,” said Dr Yolanda Augustin, a clinical oncologist working with ROSE Foundation in Sarawak.
She added that as the vast majority will recommend it to their friends, family, and local communities, they become community champions, empowering other women in their community to screen.
More information on the cyclists in Sepeda Amal Borneo here.
Those who wish to contribute by making a one-off donation, can do so via online transfer:
- Bank Name: UOB
- Bank Account Name: MMA Foundation Donation – 1
- Bank Account Number: 240 305 798 5
- UOB Swift Code: UOVBMYKL (international donations)
- UOB Bank Branch Address: UOBM Kepong, 82, Grd Flr, Jln 3/62D, Medan Putra Business Centre, Sri Manjalara off Jalan Dsara, 52200 Kuala Lumpur.
- Transaction details: SAB2023 Donation
All donations/financial sponsorships are tax deductible. All funds collected will be channelled towards the ROSE Foundation after covering operating costs.
Alternatively, donations can be made via this website.