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Run for Hope back to raise funds for cancer research

The event also aims to build support for cancer patients in Singapore.

Ms Foo: "Life is full of ups and downs. However challenging it is, the tough part will be over. Tough times never last but tough people do. Live life to the fullest and make every day count."


FOO Choon Mei was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and was treated for it in February 2016.

A year later, she had a relapse and was diagnosed to have been at Stage 1. She underwent another round of surgery and radiotherapy.

At 42, she is now in remission, and will take part in a 10km run at Run for Hope on Feb 23 (it has since been postponed to Aug 16).

The event, co-organised by Four Seasons Hotel Singapore and National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) since 2008, is sticking to its objective of raising awareness, funds and support for cancer patients in Singapore.

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Peter C. Draminsky, regional vice-president and general manager at the hotel, said: "The fight against cancer was first championed by our founder and chairman Isadore Sharp. The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has been behind the cause since 1980, when Mr Sharp lost a son at 18 to melanoma."

He added that Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has been supporting cancer research locally by holding an annual run since 1993; from 2008, it started helping the National Cancer Centre Research Fund under the Run for Hope umbrella.

"The event maintains its tradition as a non-competitive run, so everyone - anyone young or old - can join in the worthy cause," he said.

Since its inception, more than 90,000 runners have pounded the pavement around Singapore landmarks such as Marina Bay and the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and raised more than S$1.5 million for the NCC Research Fund.

Flora Yong, assistant director of the division of community outreach and philanthropy at NCCS, said: "The long-standing collaboration on Run for Hope between Four Seasons Singapore and NCCS has provided a very good platform for generating awareness on the importance of cancer awareness and cancer research in Singapore. It's predicted that one in four people will be affected by cancer in their lifetime."

She added: "Therefore, it is to our interest that we come together as a community to fight cancer."

Jason Chan, consultant medical oncologist at NCCS said: "One of the commonest and biggest misconceptions of cancer is that it is 'an old person's disease'. While it is true that the vast majority of cancers occur in older individuals, up to 5 per cent of cancers happen in young adults under the age of 40."

The concept that cancer is an incurable disease is probably less true in the modern context, he added.

"Many of the common cancers including those of the colon, breast and lung, do have a reasonable chance of long-term cure when detected early and treated appropriately," he said.

But patients diagnosed with rare cancers will find that standard approved treatments may not be available. Options recommended to them may be based on small clinical trials or extrapolated evidence from other cancer types, he said.

"Given the above reasons, most patients with rare cancers do not achieve long-term survival, unlike those diagnosed with common cancers," he said.

Various groups are thus committed to raising funds for cancer research, in the hope that the funds raised will make it possible for more cancer survivors to beat the disease.

Dr Chan said: "Cancer is always a difficult diagnosis to face. Almost always, it strikes fear and uncertainty, in even the strongest people.

"With modern medicine, cancers can often be cured, or at least kept under control for life to carry on as usual; many times, the cancer patient eventually succumbs to disease progression."

He noted that unfortunately, one in three individuals will lose the fight to the disease.

He said that it is important for cancer patients to walk the journey with their loved ones and to embrace the support given by their healthcare team.

"It is through these relationships and bonds that the journey can be a serene one, no matter the eventual outcome," he added.

Ms Foo said: "Life is full of ups and downs. However challenging it is, the tough part will be over. Tough times never last, but tough people do. Live life to the fullest and make every day count."

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