More than 200 cancer patients from various regions of China performed a theatrical festival yesterday in Beijing, calling on people to fight the disease bravely.
This is the first national performance entirely held by cancer patients and cancer rehabilitation organizations, said Zhang Zongwei, chairman of the Chinese Cancer Rehabilitation Society (CCRS).
The patients performed a total of 17 programmes, including singing and dancing, at the festival jointly sponsored by the CCRS and AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Co Ltd.
These programmes had been selected by local branches of the CCRS from 26 provinces and regions, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.
"Cancer patients should be strong figures in life. They can sing, work and do many things. Of course, we also need help from various aspects of society," said Cong Fei, a stomach cancer sufferer.
As a well-know popular singer in China, Cong performed his songs at the festival, which provides an important platform to demonstrate the enthusiasm and energy of cancer patients.
Cong, 37, has been regarded as a model cancer patient. Since 1995, he has donated at least 3 million yuan (US$360,000) to help hundreds of poor children go back to school.
By contrast, he leads a very frugal life and has suffered with the illness since 1999.
He and a further 80,000 cancer patients from all over China have joined the CCRS, a non-governmental organization established in 1990 by doctors and patients in Beijing.
Its focus is to educate the public about cancer through its various activities. These activities include training classes, lectures, outings, and birthday parties, said Wu Ailin, deputy director of Beijing Cancer Rehabilitation Society, one of the branches of the CCRS.
"Many activities are just held in parks and outdoor public places because we don't have much financial resources. All the doctors who come to do lectures do not ask for any money," Wu said.
Wu, 65, and all the others who organize activities for the society's members are volunteers. Most of them are also cancer patients.
The society often organizes special "birthday parties" for those cancer patients who have been fighting the disease for five years. The five-year mark is a "milestone" for a cancer patient, Wu said.
Without financial support from companies and the public, the CCRS and its branches are limited in their ability to organize even simple activities, Zhang said.
He called on more companies and individuals to care about the problem of cancer, which affects 1.6 million people annually in China.
Source: China Daily