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MIRI, Sept 22: Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society (SCCS) launched its ‘Aisyah Beats Cancer’ Balloon Maze 2023 today at Permaisuri Imperial City Mall, Miri, as part of its focused efforts in heightening public awareness on childhood cancer while celebrating the resilience and courage of all childhood cancer patients.
The maze, held in conjunction with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, will run for three days, from Sept 22 to 24, from 10am to 10pm.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is observed annually in September to shed light on the challenges faced by children diagnosed with cancer and their families.
Featuring life-sized balloon sculptures, the 1,596 sqft maze tells the journey and challenges of a child diagnosed with cancer, from symptom detection, official diagnosis, and active treatment to remission and survivorship. Visitors also stand a chance to redeem a surprise gift by completing a quiz at the maze.
Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Sarawak Deputy Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting, one of the event sponsors, officiated at today’s launching ceremony.
Joining him were SCCS Immediate Past President, Jocelyn Hee; SCCS Event and Marketing Manager Genevieve Tan; and Director for De Jackie Inspirations, Jackie Tan.
The event, organised in collaboration with De Jackie Inspirations, was also sponsored by Sarawak’s Deputy Minister for Public Health, Housing, and Local Government, Michael Tiang Ming Tee, with Permaisuri Imperial City Mall and DK Photography supporting as the venue sponsor and event partner respectively.
Commenting on the initiative, SCCS President Rodney Wong shared the importance of childhood cancer organisations and support groups in driving awareness campaigns and events to educate the public about the different aspects of childhood cancer.
“It is our responsibility, and those with a stronger voice, to encourage more open discourse and sharing of a child’s cancer journey and its challenges, the mindset shifts necessary to break the taboo and misconceptions about childhood cancer. This greater awareness will lead to a more informed and compassionate society getting more involved in local advocacy efforts,” Wong said.
He further highlighted that raised consciousness of the signs and symptoms can also lead to early diagnosis, which can significantly improve treatment outcomes for a child.
SCCS organised the first of its Balloon Maze series in Kuching in 2018, titled ‘Ali Beats Cancer’, to commence a signature awareness campaign to ignite a conversation on childhood cancer to progress greater support for affected children and families in Sarawak. The second maze, known as ‘Anna Beats Cancer’, was held in Kuching in 2019, and the third one carried out this year in Miri was inspired by a true childhood cancer patient named Aisyah Adlina.
“Based on a real-life story, this year’s balloon maze is about a young girl from the Belawai town in Sibu. In 2018, Aisyah was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer when she was nine years old. During her treatment at Sarawak General Hospital, Aisyah and her mother found shelter and support at the SCCS halfway home in Kuching,” Wong shared.
“Despite the many hardships, Aisyah overcame cancer with courage, resilience, and hope. She is 14 years old this year and is an inspiration to us all,” he added.
The balloon maze also showcases the various support and essential services provided by SCCS, including financial and medical aid to ensure children with cancer have access to the best available treatment and care. One of the maze highlights includes a video clip of Aisyah sharing her life after cancer, her dream and her encouragement to all childhood cancer patients. Visitors can scan a QR code within the maze to watch the video.
Entry to the ‘Aisyah Beats Cancer’ Balloon Maze is free to all at the Permaisuri Imperial City Mall from 10am to 10pm.
The last day to visit is on Sunday (Sept 24). For more information, visit www.sccs.org.my. — DayakDaily