KUCHING: The Pink Ribbon Support Group Sarawak is appealing for an annual grant of RM15,000 to RM20,000 to support breast cancer survivors in Sarawak.
President Suriani Rapaiee said the group also seeks a subsidy for breast prostheses and mastectomy bras.
She explained that the annual grant would enable the breast cancer support group to pay for utilities, annual assessment, stationery, transportation for outreach programmes, activities, materials to make breast prostheses and mastectomy bras, and general centre maintenance.
Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib – the Head of State’s wife – is scheduled to launch the group’s centre at Bandar Baru Samariang on Oct 26.
“It will be a place to get the much-needed support where they can give and receive help to make life more meaningful. It is a safe environment, providing privacy to connect on a deeper level by sharing sensitive issues without fear of judgment or misunderstanding,” she said when briefing Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Assistant Minister Rosey Yunus on Wednesday.
Suriani said with the rising incidence of breast cancer over the years, there is a need for support groups as this can result in positive effects on psychological well-being.
She said in future there are plans to provide services such as lymphatic drainage massage, arm exercise, peer support sessions, counselling, and a more professional way of distributing breast prostheses and mastectomy bras.
“We also hope to turn the centre into a platform for students of tertiary education to conduct research on breast cancer, as well as to make it a resource centre of breast cancer for patients, survivors, and the community as a whole.
“The centre will also act as a navigator for patients in the healthcare system,” she said.
Rosey called on Pink Ribbon to set up a breast cancer support group in Miri to serve the northern region.
“Spread awareness widely to the whole of Sarawak so that people know that there is a support group where they can have shoulders to lean or cry on, and where there are ears that will listen to them.
“Patients and survivors need to take control of life and don’t give up because there is still hope,” she said.
She also pointed out that women need to know the importance of early detection of breast cancer.
“Women need to put aside shyness and stigma. They also need to know how to do self-examination. They also need professional help, especially where pantang or taboo is concerned, because if everything is taboo to them they might end up becoming more sick.
“They need professional friends who have gone through it and who have managed to deal with the feeling, stress, pain, and so on.
“We know that the survivors need support, particularly moral support,” she said.
Pink Ribbon is a community-based support group with 304 members in Kuching and Sibu.