Asif Iqbal writes about the Livestrong Day ride
On October 1, a group of youth wore yellow and took out their bicycle for a ride around Dhaka city. Those who wondered what is it all about they answered that they were celebrating the Livestrong Day. Internationally, Livestrong represents the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded in 1997 by champion cyclists Lance Armstrong and is based in Austin, Texas, USA. Their main motto is to support, inspire and empower people affected by cancer worldwide. Founder, Lance Armstrong himself was a cancer survivor. In October 1996, he was diagnosed as having testicular cancer, with a tumour that had metastasized to his brain and lungs. His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy until 1998. After going through such trauma any average person would have been devastated for life but Armstrong is not one of them. He came back to cycling and went on to be the only person to win the Tour de France for seven consecutive years from 1999 to 2005. As his dedication continued to inspire others, October 2, the anniversary of Lance Armstrong’s cancer diagnosis, became The Livestrong Day when people across the globe gather to celebrate survivorship and commit to working towards a world without cancer. In Bangladesh, celebration of Livestrong day ride is only at its third year. The event is organised by Kewkradong Bangladesh (KB), a youth based activity group having extreme drive for all kinds of adventures and advocacy. Muntasir Mamun, founder of the group states, “Among many things, we have clear past of being a bike activist. By the mid 2000 we have already started our anti HIV/ AIDS campaign on bike but death of our friend Bodrul Monir triggered us to do something for Cancer too. We started contacting LAF and finally were able to organise the event for the first time in 2009.” Bodrul Monir was a fellow scout and friend of the founders of KB who passed away in 2004 suffering from leukaemia. He was also a bike lover who inspired many of his friends to take up cycling. So, participants believe that Livestrong is the ideal platform to salute him and 28 million people living with cancer around the world.
In 2010, cancer was identified as the leading cause of death worldwide. Each year more than 12 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer, and eight million people will die from the disease. Awareness is the key and that is what Livestrong aims to do. Although in Bangladesh it is still at a primary stage, this year the awareness cycle rally started from National Parliament Building travelling around for almost 30 km. Mamun Adds, “ For the campaign we have worn same Yellow coloured shirt to attract the mass and we were taking regular interval to attract more people from the street.” Nahid Sharmin, one of the new participants of this event said, “The idea and the aim of the ride were so noble that it encouraged me to join the event.” Now that the event is over she plans to, “I have already told my friends about Livestrong and the ride. Many appreciated the approach and hopefully a lot of them will join the ride next time. But I think in our country most of the cancer patient don’t know about Livestrong. I would like to aware the cancer victims about this to encourage them to live strong.” Moreover organisers believe that it is only the beginning to keep Cancer away from us and highlight the power of community and collective action in the global unite against cancer. l
For more information on all the upcoming events please visit http://test.kewkradong.com/