Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Realized My Dream...

I was overwhelmed with joy when I was chosen to be one of the International delegates at Ignite the promise: Global Advocate Summit in Budapest Hungary. It was a great honor to be part of this historical event. At first I had mixed feelings as to what will transpire out of the meeting. I was encouraged by the delegates’ love to share their vast experiences from their own communities and showing lots of interest to learn about others’. This was very encouraging and gave me a whole meaning of the summit.

As I listened to Nancy during the opening session narrating her childhood experience with her sister Susan G. Komen , through her sister’s breast cancer diagnosis, their promise to find the cure, my mind run 5 years back when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remembered the looming reality of death that hit me when I entered Uganda Cancer Institute, a fear that was re-enforced by high mortalities observed in the wards. Breast cancer patients were obviously in their late stages at presentation. I remembered the inadequacy of equipments in the only cancer centre in Uganda, the absence of a single screening, awareness and educational programs, the difficulty to mention the word “BREAST CANCER” in our communities even in the press! I recalled my promise to change the face of Breast cancer in Uganda. “MY DREAM CAME TRUE”. I gained momentum for the summit, I was further motivated by presentations on advocacy, community education, the implication of breast cancer to the developing world in the next 13years and the importance of global fundraising challenges.

When we sat in small discussion groups to share strategies for our programs, I realized Uganda and other African countries were at the beginning of their struggles against breast cancer, I was however impressed by other delegates’ willingness to work together to help us take off the ground and to ultimately find the cure for breast cancer.

Uganda with a 36% 5 year survivor rate where 85% of breast cancer patients die within 2-3 years of diagnosis. At the end of the summit I saw hope, new opportunities and a greater beginning to advocacy in Uganda. I felt I was more understood and globally accepted!

I sincerely thank Nancy Brinker for her wonderful vision, Susan G. Komen for the cure, Diana and her entire team for this memorable event! I learnt that I was not alone in the struggle against breast cancer but there are great advocates and activists globally working ultimately to find the cure. We will communicate, connect and collaborate to better understand the global impact of breast cancer.

We will find the cure, of course we will!

Gertrude Nakigudde