The Rotary Cancer Run (RCR) started in 2012 as one of the major fundraising vehicles of the Uganda Rotary Cancer Programme. The first run was organized at Shoprite/Game Lugogo Mall.
Subsequently, it moved to a more spacious venue at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds. Today, over 50 major towns in Uganda and five major cities (Mombasa, Kigali, Pretoria, Berlin, and Moscow) participate in the run on the same day and at the same time. The Rotary Cancer Run attracts on average 50,000 participants and many major companies, our reporter caught up with organisers to the this exclusive interview.
What was the purpose of starting the Rotary Cancer Run?
Many Ugandans were and still are dying of cancer due to mainly lack of awareness and treatment. The country has one major cancer treatment centre at Mulago Hospital, which is not enough to treat all the patients. The Uganda Rotary Cancer Programme was initiated to help bridge this gap and offer affected people with the possibility of a new lease on life.
What has been achieved so far?
We have been able to build the 36-bed Rotary-Centenary Bank Cancer Treatment Centre at Nsambya Hospital, which is currently operational. The building alone is worth approximately Shs1.5 billion.
We have been able to create a brand that is accountable and trusted, hence has attracted very many corporate partners key among them Parliament of Uganda and Centenary Bank which has been part of the run from the start. For the last 3 years, each Member of Parliament has been contributing Shs1m. In 2015, we raised money (Shs220m), which was given to the Rotary Blood Bank, which is now operational in Mengo Hospital.
In total, we have raised in cash of over Shs3 billion net and many other form of support comes in kind.
What are you raising money for this year?
After the completion of the Rotary-Centenary Bank Cancer Centre at Nsambya Hospital, we embarked on a much more ambitious project of bringing high tech cancer treatment machinery in the country. We zeroed in on the Linear Accelerator because it is the most modern one that is affordable and doesn’t have many negative effects on patients during administration of treatment. So to establish an effective centre that is modern, we need TWO Linear Accelerators and TWO bunkers to house them. This means that if one machine is down or needs servicing like they usually do, another is working. This is the standard in many places including in the region (Kenya and Rwanda).
Why is a bank like yours interested in such a cause?
Our Bank is for the people and it is always a pleasure to be part of initiatives that impact their lives directly. This is what Centenary Bank has been doing for over 30 years now, and it has paved the way for us to touch lives of a quarter of the banking population that we serve and beyond. Our role in society extends beyond offering financial services. We believe a healthy community, makes a healthy customer.
Centenary Bank is the people’s bank and we value our customers. Our company has lost not only customers but also very skilled and talented members of staff to the cancer scourge. One of the chief reasons we partnered with Rotary was because their cancer agenda is in line with one of our CSR facets “Bridging the Cancer Gap” which has seen Centenary Bank sponsor the cancer screening parades and Rotary Family Health Days for up to 9 years now. These activities have made millions of people aware of this scourge and knowledgeable on how to prevent it, and have seen some women and patients get the desired support and treatment timely.
We want to be part of the change. You have to be the change you want to see, especially in your country.
The 2020 Cancer Run is a program that as a bank we are excited to take part in, and following the recommendations of health experts for people to conduct more physical exercises during these times of lockdown and staying at home, the Rotary Cancer Run presents a perfect platform for people to participate from the comfort of their homes and communities while keeping healthy at the same time.
What role has Centenary Bank played towards the Cancer Run?
Centenary Bank Managing Director Fabian Kasi revealed that the Bank has for the last 9 years supported the Rotary Cancer Run and other programs, through collaborative efforts with Rotary Uganda. This year, Centenary Bank set aside Ushs. 100 million as its contribution to this agenda and the bank will take part in the planned cancer awareness campaigns.
Additionally, the Bank has made provision for both customers and non-customers that intend to participate this year to be able to remit their 2020 Cancer Run payments and donations through our over 4,000 CenteAgents around the country, via CenteMobile platform by dialling *211#, or visit select Centenary Bank branches and make your donations to Account Number 3100023145 (Account Name: Rotary Cancer Run).
How will people participate this year?
The Rotary Cancer Run 2020 will take place on Sunday, Aug 30th, 2020. There won’t be a venue to run from. Each participant will participate from where they are; at home or in their neighbourhood. Here is what you need to know:
People will participate in the run from their homes or neighbourhood while making use of their vests from the previous Cancer Runs. They must keep social distancing and observe all other COVID-19 guidelines
Participants are encouraged to share their photos on their social media platforms using the hashtag- #RotaryCancerRun2020
The virtual Rotary Cancer Run will be streamed live on Uganda Rotary Cancer Program website http//www.ugandarotarycancer.org and official Rotary Cancer Run Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/RotaryCancerRunUg/, starting with aerobics on the day at 7.00am. Don’t forget to log in.
For runners who wish to receive a participation certificate, a request can be made directly at the Uganda Rotary Cancer Program website on Sunday, August 30th, 2020. Download and share it with your WhatsApp groups and other social media accounts.
Additionally, face masks have been will be available from August 4 at Ushs. 10,000 for people to buy at select locations (Capital Shoppers outlets, Game Store Lugogo, 9th Floor NIC Building (Rotary Office) or you can call 0702 277 054 to have the face mask delivered to you by boda boda within Kampala at a small fee.
We encourage you to test for cancer, do physical exercises and eat healthy food.
When will construction of the bunkers start?
We hope to start construction in August 2020 having secured approvals from the Atomic Energy Council.
How much money do you have so far?
From the runs organized since 2016 to 2019, we have so far raised Shs2.5 billion. We believe that if we work together and you continue to support us like you have done in the previous runs, we can be able to achieve this target by October 2022.
How has money been raised over the years?
In 2012 – Ushs 68m, 2013 – Ushs 94.6m, 2014 – Ushs 92.6m, 2015 – Ushs 228.2m, 2016 – Ushs 300.3m, 2017 – Ushs 772m, 2018 – Ushs 708m and 2019 – Ushs 778m was generated over the last 8 years.
The money from 2012 – 2014 was spent on building the cancer centre at Nsambya Hospital, the money from 2015 was used for the construction of the Rotary Blood Bank at Mengo Hospital and the money from 2016 – 2019 (Shs2.55b) is available and a contractor will be on site in August to start the construction of the bunkers.
What will you do after October 2022 should you meet the target?
We will embark on building similar centres in four other major regions of the country to ensure that services are nearer to people.