Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) is a non governmental organization with a mission to eliminate breast cancer as a life threatening disease in Nigeria through public education, patient support, advocacy and research.
In line with the global shift to fight cancer before it starts, BRECAN has come up with a wellness programme named Breakfast Aerobics to promote healthy lifestyle through exercise, energy balanced diet and information. It is a monthly activity scheduled for first Saturday of every month between 7.30am -10.00am. The maiden edition held on Saturday January 7, 2012 at BRECAN centre, 18 Akinyemi Way, Ring Road, Ibadan was attended by 14 participants.
The programme started at 7.45am after registration of participants .The participants were people from different walks of life including students, professionals, business owners , retired civil servants and survivors with age range from twenty to seventy.
The aerobics instructor started with easy exercise for warm-up and coordination. Melodious music synchronized the dancing steps which created a lot of excitement and fun. As the tempo of the exercise increased the participants were sweating and began to feel the impact of the exercise. After an hour of rigorous exercise the participants’ facial expressions revealed relief from body pains due to the exercise but at the same time felt good about loosening stiff body joints and starting the year with a new approach to health and well-being.
The health talk was anchored by Dr Yinka Griffin, the Chief Medical Director of Teju Specialist Hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan who provided insight on two areas : (1) Healthy living habits. (2) Cancer risk factors and prevention. The session was interactive with participants fully engaged with the discussion. Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, Founder/President of BRECAN, disclosed to the participants that the issue of breast cancer has gone beyond awareness to advocacy urging the government to appreciate the role of research in planning for cancer intervention. She also sought the partnership of the private sector to fight against the menace of breast cancer through the support of BRECAN programmes that directly touch the lives of breast cancer patients and their families. Suggestions on how to increase public participation in the fight against cancer in Nigeria were discussed noting that cancer messages imbedded in drama could rally people to the cause.
The highlight of the programme was the survivor’s story of Mrs Oliva Ohanaja who went down the memory lane of her breast cancer experience. Showing that BRECAN cares, Mr Biyi Adesanya, a BRECAN Ambassador presented to her a survivor’s handbag and a cheque of ten thousand naira only (N10,000.00). In addition, BRECAN information resource got a boost by AIhaji Murina’s donation of five copies of his book, “Pillar to Post” that captured his ordeal as a caregiver to his wife who lost her life to breast cancer.
The participants were served with healthy breakfast comprising sandwich, vegetable roll, smoothies (of fresh fruits), tea, coffee and bottled water. The aerobics programme came to a close at 10.30 am with a vote of thanks by BRECAN President.
The next edition is on Saturday February 4, 2012.