Wife of the governor of Ondo State, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has called for concerted and collaborative efforts among stakeholders in the fight against Breast Cancer. She described those afflicted with the disease as our sisters and mothers who deserve support.

The First Lady made the call, today, in her address at the 2021 BRECAN Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the BRECAN House, Ijapo, Akure, Ondo State Capital.

She said, “A staggering 14000 women still die of breast cancer yearly. These are our sisters, mothers and daughters. We cannot relent at this time. We must all join forces to combat breast cancer everywhere in Nigeria. I am charging fledgling chapters to rise up to the task before them. We can achieve more if will rise up to this task together. No one should be left behind.”

Arabirin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, who noted that BRECAN has recorded amazing feats since its birth, said the organization has also had its high and low times but continues to wax stronger by the day.

“Truly BRECAN has not been without her challenges but these challenges have toughened us up and helped us navigate the muddy waters of dysfunctional health system and poor attitude towards volunteerism. It is amazing what we have achieved in our 24 years of existence, however, we still have a long way to go.We didn’t get here by chance, we have been through the highs and the lows, we have gathered in many and in few, we have had days of plenty and days of nothing, in all this however, one thing remained constant; our dogged resolve to eliminate breast cancer as a life threatening disease in Nigeria.”

Arabirin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu also explained how BRECAN has been able to help hundreds of breast cancer patients in Nigeria through our crowd funding, saying, “
Over the past years we have made giant strides. We have supported hundreds of breast cancer patients through our crowd funding. Although getting the funds has not been easy, that soothing sigh of relief that is glaringly expressed in the face of the beneficiaries and their families brings immeasurable joy to the heart of every BRECANite and gives us the nudge to do more.”

In her words, “We are equally all aware that our advocacy activities have been yielding remarkable results in the past few years. After series of advocacy visit to the Ondo state house of assembly, the state legislators voted over $3 million in the 2018 budget to fund cancer control and kick-start the establishment of a cancer centre in the state.

“BRECAN as an NGO depends on volunteers and donors to achieve her aim, unfortunately, many Nigerians do not understand the concept of volunteerism. Many that started this journey with us left midway, they did not get the financial gains they thought will come with being a member of BRECAN. We have come a long way in this journey and I am thankful to everyone for being a part of BRECAN’s success story (both those who were once with us and those who still are, you all have contributed your quota in the fight against breast cancer and you are highly appreciated.

Mrs. Akeredolu recalled that BRECAN started at a time when women were ashamed to be identified with cancer campaign; she is however proud of the success story that it is today.

“When we started in 1997, we were very few. At that time, women were ashamed to be tagged a breast cancer survivor due to the stigma, but today the story is different.We have more women coming out to tell their stories as survivors, and this has led to the establishment of Team Survivor Nigeria, an arm of BRECAN, providing financial and psychosocial support to breast cancer patients.

“As a result of our creativity in creating breast cancer awareness, BRECAN has received high note recognitions from the international community. Our home grown Sekem dance for breast cancer awareness caught the attention of the current US President’s organisation, Biden Cancer Initiative, and BRECAN was invited to represent Nigeria and BVGH’s Africa Access Initiative at the 2018 Biden Cancer Community Summit. BRECAN’s strides were also recognized in Harvard and University of Heidelberg, Germany in 2018 and 2019 respectively”, she noted.