To say last Thursday’s Pink Tea Party was a success is to be guilty of a gross understatement. The fourth annual Pink Tea Party was a spectacular event organized by the Ministry of Health and Human Services’ National Cancer Prevention Program, Marshall Islands Breast Cancer Society, Cancer Support Group and Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI).
The event took place at the Kramer’s residence across Formosa in Delap. The Pink Tea Party was a chance to raise awareness and funds, honor and remember those who have already passed on, and celebrate those who survived the battle with cancer.
The two leading causes of death for women in the Marshall Islands are cervical and breast cancer.
The event was well organized and efficient. Miss Utrok Lania Kaiko led the event in a very graceful way that caught people’s attention. Assumption’s FAMI choir conveyed the musical prayer.
Health Secretary Jack Niedenthal delivered welcoming remarks, recognizing Nitijela Member Hilda Heine and Mayor Marie Milne, and expressed thanks to Ambassadors Roxanne Cabral, Brek Batley, Jeffrey Hsaio and Norio Saito. “It’s been a year and eight or nine months that we’ve been though this pandemic but because of a lot of help from a lot of people and also outside people getting us testing equipment, PPEs and now three different kind of vaccines, we are in debt to these people for helping,” he said.
He thanked WUTMI, Cancer Society and everyone that helped put together the tea pink party. “All of us here in the Marshall Islands, we all have our cancer stories from our families, we’ve all personally experienced it and it is a very hard thing to go through for all of us,” he added. “This is really special and really important.” He said that because of Covid, cancer patients have been taking a big hit because the hospitals are very crowded with Covid patients and that cancer patients often have to wait for care.
Dr. Holden Nena, who is the clinical director of Human Services at the Ministry of Health and Human Services, delivered the message of power of mental well-being. “The way forward with mental health is what is happening here, that support, that energy and that hope,” he said. “When we start to unite and teach people, more people will do the screening, when people feel positive about it, the immune system can fight longer,” he added.
Cancer survivor Maryia deBrum shared her journey with the crowd. She encouraged those who have not done screening to do so. “I wrote in a journal during this time, so I can encourage myself because I was alone,” she said. She was thankful to be able to share her story. “Faith, hope and love, if we have all three in our lives we can do it,” she said.
Erma Myazoe who’s the 177 Health Care Program administrator, sang a song as a tribute for the cancer survivors. She sang Hero by Mariah Carey. Loved ones of the cancer survivors took their survivors up to dance. The large crowd was happy and emotional.
The night continued on with much laughter and a competition of island hats. Francyne Wase-Jacklick and Anela Hernandez livened up the rest of the night with their upbeat and outgoing personalities. Prizes were given to winners and everyone went home looking forward for the next pink tea party as it improves every year.