Cancer survivors celebrate life in NPC-QI media bowling championship this weekend

Amnah Salleh was devastated when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She was only 37.

But that did not stop her from living a full, and normal life. This weekend, she and her fellow cancer survivors from the Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia (BCWA) will compete in the National Press Club (NPC)-QI Inter Media Bowling Championship at Sunway Mega Lanes in Selangor.

“Why me? What did I do wrong? That’s what I asked myself at that time,” said Amnah, a quantity surveyor.

“The news hit me hard. I felt like I had been hit by a bus.”

“But, I never saw it as a death sentence. I knew I could lead a normal life if I had a good support system. And that is what I found at the Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia (BCWA).”

She said talking to other survivors helped her accept what happened to her.

“Speaking to people who had gone through the treatment, who had endured the pain, helped me accept my condition and gave me hope,” she said.

In 2010, Amnah and other survivors formed a bowling team. They competed in many events, but this weekend would be their first tournament since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our tagline is ‘Bowling for Courage, Wellness and Awareness’ – BCWA – the same acronym as the association’s.

“The team is called ‘Pink Power’ to help us stand out, as we want to create awareness that one can lead a normal life, even after being diagnosed with cancer.”

Newly-appointed BCWA president Kim Lim, a breast cancer survivor herself, said the association is planning to organise more events this year.

Chief among the activities is the resumption of the MURNI Mobile Clinics that will go to the rural areas and educate the people about breast cancer. MURNI stands for Mobile Unit Reaching Nationwide with Information.

“We do not want stigma to be associated with the word cancer anymore,” said Kim, who added that early detection is crucial.

“Some people do not want to talk about cancer, and do not want to accept it after they are diagnosed.

“We want to tell people that being diagnosed with breast cancer is not a death sentence. That you can overcome it. That it is okay to move forward and lead a normal life.”

Besides taking part in the bowling tournament, BCWA co-sponsored the competitors’ T-shirts. The other co-sponsor for the T-shirts is public relations agency, Hexa Communications.

Hexa Communications’ managing partner Cherry Lui, who is also a BCWA committee member, was elated to be part of the event.

“We are happy to be able to bowl and have fun with our friends from the media. This is a great way for us to connect once again, following the pandemic that saw various lockdowns being enforced,” said Lui.

A press conference was held at the NPC clubhouse in Jalan Tangsi, Kuala Lumpur, earlier this afternoon.

Present were title sponsor QI Group’s head of corporate affairs, Francis Soh, Nestle Products Sdn Bhd sports marketing manager Kerwin Lim, 100Plus event and sponsorship manager Muhammad Fauzi Ahmad, and Swiss Garden Hotel general manager Danny Koh.

(From left): Muhammad Fauzi, Soh, Ahirudin, Lui, Kim, Koh and Lim at the press conference this afternoon. Image: Hanafiah Nordin / Twentytwo13

NPC president Datuk Ahirudin Attan said the bowling meet marks the beginning of many more activities lined up by the club as the nation eases regulations following the transition from Covid-19 pandemic, to the endemic phase.

“We are looking forward to more sporting and other activities throughout the year. Events are being lined up and we hope to see the same sponsors, and many others, join forces with us,” said Ahirudin, who is also the executive director of Petra News.

Eighteen teams will participate in the competition. Ten media teams are from TV3, Bernama, Petra News, My Qaseh/NSTP, My Qaseh/NPC, Crescent Digital/Bernama Outlaw, Crescent Digital/Sabah Journalist Association, Asia News, Penang Press Club, and Twentytwo13.

The eight other teams are from QI Group (two teams), Milo, 100Plus, BCWA-Pink Power, Hexa Communications, Swiss Garden Hotel, and Telum Media.

The top three teams stand to pocket RM1,200, RM800 and RM400 in prize money, in addition to hampers from Milo, and trophies.