ESCA CANCERSUPPORT IN GENEVA HELPED ME THROUGH DARK TIMES…
ESCA FUNDRAISING CHALLENGE – HOW YOU CAN HELP
by Alana Dunsmore
About three months after finishing the Geneva Unicef half-marathon 3 years ago, I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office discussing my cancer diagnosis! I was fit and full of life and cancer hadn’t even crossed my mind.
It was a major shock – no-one thinks it will happen to them! Still relatively new to Geneva therefore not a huge support system in Geneva and still learning French. I had no idea what the next 6-9 months of my future would look like or how I would be able to take care of my son.
That’s when someone recommended English speaking Cancer Association (ESCA CancersSupport) and this local English organisation became my lifeline – offering emotional support, practical advice and a caring voice when I needed it most.
I am a survivor and so grateful to be here to tell the story and to pay it forward. Part of my gratitude is having services such as ESCA, which helped me cope during such a difficult period of my life.
Unfortunately, my story is not unusual and most of us know someone affected by cancer. It doesn’t matter how active or healthy you think you are you can still get sick and you never know when ESCA may become a lifeline for you or someone you know.
Now, it’s time for me to give back. Please keep reading and join me in supporting their latest fundraising effort: Steps for ESCA CancerSupport – see all the details below.
COVID CANCELLED FUNDRAISER EVENTS, BUT CANCER DOESN’T STOP!
For the past 13 years ESCA hosted a Dragon Boat Festival. Not only is it an important fundraising event for them, but it is also an opportunity to raise awareness. Unfortunately, this year they’ve had to cancel the event due to COVID-19. ESCA felt it was the best and safest decision for everyone involved. In fact, all of ESCA’s fundraisers were cancelled or postponed. Cancer doesn’t stop, and neither has the ESCA cancer support – they quickly moved almost all of their support services online.
NOW ESCA NEEDS YOUR HELP
Since they have had to cancel their usual fundraisers, the amazing team at ESCA developed a COVID friendly alternative, Steps for CancerSupport. This is a great idea because it is so easy to participate – everyone walks. Plus, it encourages us all to stay active this summer!
STEPS FOR CANCERSUPPORT – STEP UP TO THE CHALLENGE!
Steps for Cancersupport, around the world in 20 days, is a fitness challenge where teams or individuals can set their own personal goals to help collectively achieve the 55 million steps it would take to walk around the earth’s circumference. Why 20 days? To mark the 20th anniversary of ESCA CancerSupport!
There will be three categories in this Challenge: corporate teams, open teams, and individuals.
Whether you are an individual looking for extra motivation to reach your recommended 10,000 steps per day or a group doing team training for your next marathon, REGISTER for Steps for CancerSupport and make each step count for local cancer patients and their loved ones. You can also SUPPORT a team or individual competing in the Challenge!
Given the changing Covid situation please refer to government advice while taking part in the challenge and remember that
teams can be virtual as well as in-person.
WHO IS ESCA AND WHERE DID IT ALL START?
They began as the English-Speaking Cancer Support Group (ECSG) and was formed in 1999. The group was formed by an American who was living and working in Geneva. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he found himself having difficulty expressing himself in French. At which time he approached his counsellor and shared his idea of forming a support group specifically for the English community. It started out as a small group meeting in local bookstores.
Since the beginning the group forming the mission has been to continue to provide assistant to individuals directly or indirectly affected by cancer. This support can come in many ways. It can include coping with the initial shock of a diagnosis, coping with the treatments and side effects, to the processing the grief and bereavement as well as the recovery and healing after the treatments. For a community like Geneva Expats this help can be vital because so many of us don’t have family nearby.
WHY AROUND THE WORLD?
While their services are in English, ESCA provides support to anyone in the international community. Therefore, walking around the world reflects both the diverse backgrounds of the people they aim to help as well as the supportive volunteers.
HOW TO TAKE PART
Registration will be open until August 11, 2020. So…step up to the challenge and find your team or just do it yourself! The challenge starts August 18 and will run until September 6, when the CancerSupport Festival originally planned.
BUT THERE’S MORE YOU CAN DO
You can also help by finding sponsors to partner with ESCA for this and future events. If you have any contacts (friends, family) or any other leads, we would love to hear from you! You can contact an ESCA rep by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the first two ways to help do not work for you but you want to help, this great cause, in another way you can also donate HERE.
Lastly please encourage your friends or family to participate in this great cause. That’s another great thing about this challenge; anybody can participate no matter where in the world they live!
I’LL WALK FOR MYSELF AND MY GRAN!
So, for me I will walk for myself but also for my grandmother who was a survivor. Whoever it is; maybe a family member who also survived or maybe unfortunately a love one who didn’t. Remember that person every day while you walk. Thank you for your support.