Africa Cancer Foundation: Eat and exercise your way out of cancer

By Chepkemoi Lasoi

Fun and informative. That is the simplest way to describe the ‘Move Eat family friendly’ event held by the Africa Cancer Foundation (ACF) at The Nairobi Arboretum on Saturday 7 July 2018 to educate Nairobi residents on living right, eating right so as to fight the scourge of cancer.

Founded in 2011, the Africa Cancer Foundation is focused on cancer awareness, prevention and treatment. Its vision is to have a cancer free Africa while its mission is “To promote the prevention of cancer and provide a holistic solution to people affected by cancer in Africa.”

ACF turned seven this year and to commemorate it, the Move Eat event was held, being the first of it’s kind as ACF has been primarily focused on screening tests. The aim of the event was to “pass on information on how to exercise in an individual’s own way and eat right”, said Dorothy Nyong’o, ACF’s Managing Director and Kisumu county’s first lady whose husband, Governor Anyang Nyongo of Kisumu County founded the organization after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer while serving as the Medical Services Minister.

According to the World Cancer Research fund, through regular exercise, nutritious diet and maintain a healthy weight, about a third of the most common cancers are preventable.

According to the Governor, he noticed the lack of resources and information on cancer and the stigma associated with it in Kenya. Many like him seek treatment outside the country.

ACF works closely with the government of Kenya through the county health facilities with nurses being given to them during the screening while private health facilities provide basic things like furniture. So far, ACF has screened more than 18,000 people in 12 different counties. Those they reach out to really appreciate free screenings. ACF’s major challenge is getting funding to go around the country.

Featured at the event were various partners ranging from medical care providers, medical equipment suppliers, fitness experts and healthy living advocates. These included Healthy U who offered free consultation on healthy living and diet including how to maintain healthy weight and skin care products.

They also sold some of their merchandise like omega supplements and organic seeds. Terra Lifestyle Company had fresh organic cold pressed juices, with offices at The Alchemist Bar in Westlands and Alpha Fit Gym on Ngong Road. Eco Fresh Limited displayed their vast array of m oringa products ranging from pure moringa in various forms, to spices mixed with moringa like garam masala, to teas with a mixture of moringa and other organic products with various focus points. Power Me is an energy booster, Beauty Me is for hormonal balance and healthy hair and skin, Balance Me is for calming nerves and relaxation, Detox Me is for detoxing, Skinny Me is for weight loss and boosting metabolism while Defend Me is for boosting immunity.

According to their catalogue, Moringa has 90+ nutrients and 8 essential amino acids. It is “perfect for prevention and management of lifestyle diseases as well as for restoring the body’s natural balance and vitality.”

Also, there was Sciencescope Limited, suppliers of machines/ equipment for laboratory/ MRI scans/ cancer screening among other things. Others who were there included Bio Foods Kenya, Nestle Kenya, Grange Park Drinking Water, The Pranic Healing Centre, Bubble Soccer Kenya, Bridges Organic Restaurant, Strength Kenya, Ultrafitness Gym, Doctor Fitness, MDA Kenya and AAR Insurance. Other products sold were raw shea butter, Himalayan bath salts, raw honey wax and honey by Mavuno Holdings and homemade granola ,in different flavors, by Simply Linah. Activities included bubble soccer, yoga, strength training, dancing, bouncing castles and a running.

The event attracted various types of people from relatives there to support their loved ones at ACF, to first timers to those interested in fitness, to some researchers. For starters there was Arnold Ambuga, a participant who was primarily interested in the 5km run around the arboretum, he wanted to learn more about the foundation because he and some of those he knows would want to contribute to ACF’s cause.

Apollo Murigi is a social scientist who has been volunteering at ACF for about four years according to him it’s his own way of interacting with people for a good cause. Also present was Doreen Mageto the Administration Assistant at ACF who started as a volunteer in 2014 before getting employed there. Working in a charitable trust according to Doreen, has impacted her life positively because she is able to learn a lot especially about nutrition and exercise and apply it in her personal life.

In attendance were also two students from the University of Toronto, Canada. Johnson Yu, studying Neuroscience specifically retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the retina which is in the eye, while Hodan Muhamud, studying Human Biology both being part of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Program. They were present as observers and to discuss about their research with ACF. All in all, the event was a major success with the participants asking for it to be done quarterly each year. However, further plans have not been finalized yet.

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