Zumba exercise turns out into a cancer charity drive

Sese Cokomata (far right) with Fiji Cancer Society board member Makarawa Wilson (third from left) and friends at last year’s cancer charity drive. Picture: Supplied.

WHAT started off as a friendly zumba routine to stay healthy and fit has now turned in to a charity drive raising awareness about cancer.

Sese Cokomata and Varomue Fesaitu both works at the library of a tertiary institution and shared with this newspaper how their Pinktober cancer charity drive begun.

Ms Fesaitu, who came from a corporate company background, saw the need to give back to the society.

“Before joining the institution’s library, I think they had their charity events a few years ago.

“I joined the library in 2015 from a corporate company so when I came, there wasn’t much in terms of giving back to society.

“So I asked our university librarian, if we the staff could create an atmosphere for help — helping others that are less fortunate.

“In 2016 we didn’t have any Pinktober fundraiser because we had projects due on the month, although we told the staff if they want to, we will support them for the Pinktober drive.

“Last year we did and we collected $1522 which was directly deposited to the Fiji Cancer Society’s bank account.

“This year we are doing the same thing — but a bit different because we are incorporating zumba in it.

“I normally go to zumba on weekends and our instructor said for any fundraising to just let him know because the venue is free and we will just have to sell the tickets, so we are incorporating zumba this year.

“During the awareness month, some think it would be a good idea to participate to assist those being diagnosed through the Fiji Cancer Society by having events. “For some, it is by being diagnosed they are reminded and aware of cancer every day,” shared Ms Fesaitu.

Over the years, Ms Fesaitu says the amount collected from selling ribbons have grown from $705 in 2015 to $1522 in 2017.

“The funny thing was we didn’t expected much as our target was $1000 and we were surprised we collected $500 from students and staff in the first week.

“We sold ribbons for a dollar outside the library and also organised ‘pink Fridays’ for staff — and we collected $1 for compliance and $2 for non-compliance on a voluntary basis.

This year, we are hopeful and have $2000 as our target.

“Last year for the first time we invited a speaker — a cancer survivor Mrs Abdul Hamida and Fiji Cancer Society board member Makarava Wilson for our Pinktober morning tea on the last Friday of the month.

“Mrs Hamida spoke about the challenges she went through as a cancer survivor so it’s quite sad these things happen to people and that’s when people need their families the most to support them.”

Ms Fesaitu said she came across Fiji Cancer Society during a Bushells Fiji’s Biggest Morning Tea twice at Total Fiji where she was previously employed.

Ms Fesaitu adds that this year the charity drive will be a little different as counter stroke will be incorporated in the drive.

She also says that incorporating Zumba in the drive will also help combat non-communicable diseases.

“It would be good if people support this. If people listen to cancer survivors speak, it’s inspiring to hear their strength to overcome the disease.”

The Pinktober Zumba will be take place on October 6 at the YMCA.

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