The Indonesian Cancer Organization marked its 34th anniversary on Sunday by honoring a long list of members and donors, including Lippo Group founder and CEO Mochtar Riady, for their support.
“Without the support of professionals and donors, our programs could not proceed smoothly,” said Karlinah Umar Wirahadikusumah, a board member of the charity, also known as YKI.
“Therefore, YKI is acknowledging the loyalty and dedication of those members and donors who have been actively supporting us either financially or professionally to raise public awareness on cancer,” she said.
The awards, in the form of certificates of appreciation, were awarded to a number of donors and several YKI branches, including those in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bali, Papua, South Sulawesi and South Kalimantan.
The award for Mochtar Riady was accepted by Theo L. Sambuaga, Lippo Group president. The Jakarta Globe is affiliated with Lippo Group.
In addition to educating the public about cancer, Karlinah said the foundation also actively helped cancer patients obtain treatment, especially those from poor families.
“Using funding from donors, YKI is trying to help cancer patients from disadvantaged families get treatment,” Karlinah said.“Other than that, we have also built a clinic, Sasana Marsudi Husada, in Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta,” she said.
Mei Ukas, the vice treasurer of YKI, said the clinic only charged patients Rp 30,000 ($3.50) per day to stay there.
“Currently, Sasana Marsudi Husada has 20 rooms for patients. Each patient is charged Rp 30,000 per day and for that they get a place to stay, three meals a day and also milk,” Mei said.
She said on average six to eight patients stayed at the clinic every month, most of whom were in Jakarta to seek treatment at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Central Jakarta.
According to the World Health Organization, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 7.9 millions deaths in 2007. Cancer of the lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast claim the most lives.
“Seeing that breast, liver, lung and stomach are listed as the cause of the most cancer deaths each year, we have prioritized the 10 most dangerous cancers to be part of our public cancer education programs,” Mei said.
“The 10 cancers are cervical breast, liver, lung, skin, colorectal [bowel], nasopharynx, leukemia, malignant trophoblastic and lymphoma malignum,” she said.
Karlinah said, “As cancer is listed as the leading cause of death worldwide, it is very important that we help to improve awareness of it by running campaigns and educating the public.”
YKI was founded by 17 people, including the country’s first vice president, Mohammad Hatta, former Health Minister Gerrit A. Siwabessy and former Jakarta Governor Ali Sadikin, to educate the public about cancer, with particular emphasis on minimizing risks, including through early detection.