Epilepsy Warriors Foundation organises 18.5km walkathon fundraiser on Sunday

Epilepsy Warriors Foundation (EWF), in collaboration with Cancer Survivors Quest, will on Sunday, February 26 walk 18km from Blantyre Old Town Hall to Lunzu in a fundraiser walkathon to support people with epilepsy and cancer.

Project manager, Chikhulupiliro Ng’ombe said they have organized the walk as one way of raising funds in order to give full support to people with the two diseases as well as to make a statement about epilepsy and cancer to the country.

The Blantyre-Lilongwe challenge to raise awareness on epilepsy

“Together with Cancer Survivor’s Quest, we have organised the event in commemoration of World Cancer Day, International Child Cancer Day and International Epilepsy Day, which were supposed to be celebrated in early February but due to some reason we thought it wise just to do a walkathon,” Ng’ombe said.

He added that Cancer Survivor Quest want to build a screening centre in Dedza while Epilepsy Warriors Foundation are trying to end stigma while promoting positive awareness on the two diseases in the country.

“We are supporting people with epilepsy and cancer through different activities such as providing drugs , managing epilepsy clinics and providing awareness campaign,” he said.

One of the participants of the walkathon, Innocent Chantulo said he is looking forward for the challenge, saying it is important in raising epilepsy awareness.

“I want to help to eradicate the challenges that these people are facing and am hoping to put my strength on this journey as it will be helpful to my fellow brothers and sisters with epilepsy,” he said.

The event comes hot on the heels of ‘50 Million Steps’ fundraising 315km walk from Blantyre to Lilongwe that National Epilepsy Association of Malawi two weeks ago organised from February 4-11 — that also was to raise awareness of the disease against its stigma.

The event targeted to raise K5 million but they managed to raise K525,000 which the association pledged would be used to procure bicycles to be distributed across Malawi to one or two representatives in a community to use it to visit nearest clinic where they can receive medication and distribute them to others.

The association’s Associate member, Moses Sakala old MANA last week that the walk was successful in raising awareness, saying people living with epilepsy are facing a lot of stigma in their communities they live which is an obstacle to their progress in life.

Thus they dedicated the whole month of February to raise awareness on the condition and Sakala further said people view a person living with epilepsy as if they cannot perform economically or otherwise.

“The stigma and the discrimination that they face forces most of them to shun away from public participation and they don’t disclose to people about their condition,” Sakala said, adding that the awareness is trying to tell people that those with epilepsy condition are also like anyone else and in the process end the stigma.

“When we talk about epilepsy in Malawi, we are looking at 40,000 people that have the condition — according to the study that was done in 2018 but the numbers might be bigger by now because people don’t come out in the open because of stigma.

“Apart from this challenge, some of them stay for four months without medication and some clinics do not receive adequate medication that would last people with epilepsy for a long time.”

He, therefore, emphasized that epilepsy should not be viewed as condition that doesn’t exist or that emanates from witchcraft but rather a medical condition anyone at any age can develop.

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