By Francois Lottering (NAMPA FEATURES SERVICE) WINDHOEK, 09 OCT (NAMPA) -
The 10th annual Hats and Roses brunch of the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) was more than just hats, roses, fashion and sparkling wine. It was all about 'The Essence of Women.'
The event, which took place on the first Saturday of October, was all about making the day extraordinary for Namibian women. Although the event was hosted at a hotel in the capital, Namibian women from all walks of life were represented.
CAN Chief Executive Officer Rolf Hansen told Nampa the whole operation - from the planning and final preparation of the venue until the first guests walked through the door - was more than just another day on the job.
"It was a journey for the whole CAN team preparing the venue. It was spectacular. We could feel the magic of womanhood there," Hansen said.
The magic of womanhood was indeed evident. Pink could be seen all over at the venue - the roses, candles and other décor on the tables, as well as information brochures, pens and other items used to create awareness of the cancers that affect women. Describing the event as being spectacular would be an understatement.
Almost all of the about 700 women present made the extra effort to design their own hats, while others made their hats from the roses.
The 'rose hats' attracted a lot of attention, as the roses complete with leaves and stems were creatively fashioned into a hat. Besides the flowers and candles the soft colours of display lights against the walls and stage created that extra ambience of love, caring and warmth of those who care for others, especially the women who are affected by cancer one way or the other.
After all, the Hats and Roses breakfast was started 10 years ago to make people more aware of cancer, especially among women.
Hansen's passion for what he does stretches much further than the boundary walls of the CAN's office in Windhoek in that he cares for other Namibians who are either diagnosed with cancer or are undergoing treatment.
"There were also a few ladies at the event who are still going through the journey of cancer, or are even still receiving treatment," he said. One would expect him to share this news in a more sombre fashion, and yet he has more of an aura of joy and hope around him.
His love for his profession as CEO of CAN is evident - strengthened by the knowledge that every individual who seeks assistance from CAN is treated with the utmost respect and empathy.
He added that many of the attendees at the Hats and Roses breakfast had the support of their mothers, sisters or friends, as no one - regardless of gender, religion, status - is immune to cancer.
To make the day more special and empower more women, dB-Audio Namibia, who provided the sound and lightning, had an all-women team work on the project.
"We could feel it (the breakfast) was an empowering morning for breast and cervical cancer survivors as well as those who lost the journey to honour their memory and their fight," Hansen said.
The year is however far from over for CAN as there are still a number of events planned. October is known as 'Pink Month' as it is breast cancer awareness month. 09 October is Pink Day, and people are encouraged to buy pink items like pens, bracelets, shirts, and shopper bags at the CAN shop in Windhoek.
A 'Dust and Dirt 4x4' event to raise awareness of breast and cervical cancer is scheduled for 10 October. And despite the traditional association of pink with women, the awareness events are also geared towards men as they are also prone to cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.
Men are by nature are more reluctant to undergo screening Hansen noted, hence other initiatives such as 'Movember'. The term Movember is a combination of the words 'moustache' and 'November' - the month during which men can show their solidarity for the fight against cancer by growing moustaches.
The CAN 2015 calendar will come to an end with the Children with Cancer in Namibia (CHICA) year-end function towards the end of the year, Hansen said.