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Poster courtesy of Yinka Oladele

African Cancer Support Group celebrates cancer survivors and spreads awareness

By Nazeefa Ahmed, June 2 2023—

On June 3, the African Cancer Support Group (ACSG) is hosting an event to celebrate cancer survivors and to spread awareness about cancer in the African community. The event will host cancer survivors so that they share their stories and provide inspiration and education to attendees. 

The event will also officially launch The Oladele Foundation (TOF) to develop and expand the work of ACSG. TOF hopes to bring more donations through partnerships to further support people in the African community. 

“Partnership donations are multi-year donations that will provide crucial support, including but not limited to recruiting and training personnel, increasing the frequency of support services, assisting caregivers, office rental, etc,” read a statement in their press release. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet, Executive Director Yinka Oladele describes how the organization began with the cancer diagnosis of her husband.  

“The foundation started when my husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer,” said Oaldele. “While we’re going through the journey, we realize that the African community is behind. There are so many things that we are not privy to like resources, information, and support.”

Oaldele, with her husband Bayo Oaldele, wrote, Second Chance: Surviving The Battles of Cancer, which led to people reaching out in the Calgarian African community. 

“People started to share their stories. They didn’t know they could talk about cancer. From our family to two families, we now have over 50 families registered for support as well.”

The foundation provides many resources to cancer patients in the African community, as there are many hidden costs that the government does not cover. 

“The services we provide are unique,” said Oladele. “We offer culturally appropriate counselling services, emotional support, meal delivery, and complementary therapy.

“We thank the government of Canada for providing the real cancer drugs for free. However, there are lots of out-of-pocket expenses for people,” said Oaldele. “Also, people who are going through treatment are unable to work due to the chemotherapy. Some of them can not work even after treatment, depending on the type of cancer they have and the side effects of the treatment,” Oladele continued. 

Bayo Oladele describes how he used his cancer diagnosis and recovery story to educate members of his community. 

“Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence,” he said. “When it is detected early and the treatment is followed through, there is a possibility of cure. So, we are asking people to have regular medical checkups after a certain age to test symptoms in your body. I also encourage people to make cancer screening tests a priority.”

In her concluding remarks, Oaldele encourages students to get involved in the mission, as they have skills that will be useful to building the organization and providing more services to the African community. 

“Students might not have a huge amount of money but everything counts,” he said. “Students might know more about how to receive funding or prepare for grants. When you don’t have a lot of people, someone you have to pay to get things done. But if there are people involved in the mission, then there is the ability to support each other and make real change.”

Those that wish to get involved in the organization can apply to be a volunteer on the ACSG website. Volunteer forms will be posted next week. 

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