Charity drives are becoming more innovative. Foundations are borrowing from interesting and innovative fund raising activities filled with fun as people give.
Last weekend, a group of about 250 was at Sagana for a two- day event filled with fun and adventure.
Participants were drawn from different companies that sponsored teams for a weekend organised to raise awareness on cancer and raise funds. The weekend was organised by Faraja Cancer Support, which is based at MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi.
“We were looking for something fun and different. In this regard, white water rafting is such an event. It is very common with cancer charities across the world to do adventurous activities. So when Savage approached us for this, we were very excited as it is the one kind of event we had always wanted to do and no one else does,” said Faraja Cancer Support director, Shaira Adamali.
“It was amazing and breath-taking. Seeing so many people come together to have fun and raise money to support cancer patients was really touching. We hope to have more teams next year as we would like it to be a yearly event.”
The eager teams took on white water rafting, zip lining, bungee jumping, rock climbing and mountain biking. Zip lining, apparently was the most popular sport, with almost everyone lining up to cross the river on a rope.
Other than the spirit of adventure the sports were about team work and coordination. The charity drive managed to raise Sh2.5 million.
Faraja Cancer Support has to date sponsored 25 cancers patients for treatment and looking to increase their benefactors.
Kenya Revenue Authority, ICEA Lion Group, PKF, PwC, Chandaria Foundation, NIC, KPMG, Viva Africa, Taxwise consulting, African Cotton, Lancet, NIC and Deloitte were some of the participating corporates who sponsored teams. Other sponsors were Savage Wilderness who run a camp at Sagana and hosted the teams over the weekend.
Faraja is not the only organisation using fund and interesting drives to raise funds or get support. Kenya Cancer Association and Twakutukuza are other organisations dealing with cancer patients and survivors and are finding innovative ways to support the needy.
The former, called on people to donate their hair as part of fund raising, last year. A reasonable number of women showed up and got their hair shaved.
Twakutukuza carries out its awareness through music concerts.
Cancer cases have been on the rise in Kenya. About 40, 000 cancer cases are diagnosed every year, according to Faraja.
Majority of the said cases are usually at advanced stage -three or four. The mortality rate caused by cancer stands at 27,000 deaths annually. With this, the cost of treatment has remained out of reach for many Kenyans.
“Cancer treatment is also very expensive and the fact that it’s diagnosed mostly at late stages makes it even more expensive to treat. Average treatment therefore ranges between Sh160,000 to Sh500,000, which is way beyond the reach of many Kenyans,” said Ms Adamali.
Faraja started a Sh12 million endowment fund which it hopes to grow in five folds in the coming months.
Their goal is to support four patients on cancer treatment every month.
Following the success of the event, Faraja has lined up other events for the year. They include the annual Faraja Yogathon in November, the day when Kenyans come together to celebrate life through Yoga and Faraja Fusion night on September 13th.
“We will have three singers- Wanny Angerer from Hondurus, Alisha Popat and Dan Aceda, a Kenyan singer. We will also have a fashion show with cancer patients as our models,” Ms Adamali said.
Cancer though has been blamed for thousands of deaths, is treatable. Locals hospitals are equipped enough to handle the emerging and existing cases.
Aga Khan Hospital, Kenyatta Hospital, Nairobi Hospital and MP Shah are leading from front in providing treatment to cancer patients. Non-profit organisation also offer support to patients and survivors.
“We would like to tell Kenyans that having cancer does not mean a death sentence and therefore they should face it head on. It’s also good to attend the support group meetings that so that one knows that they are not alone,” Ms Adamali concluded.