Herculean effort for cervical cancer awareness

Greer Hawley, Flight Sergeant Sam Williams and Group Captain Gretchen Fryar hike through the hills of Pulau Pinang Malaysia to support the Rose Foundation.

Herculean effort for cervical cancer awareness

Hot and humid temperatures in the hills of Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, didn’t deter three women from completing a gruelling four-day hike of more than 100km in support of cervical cancer awareness.

Air Force Flight Lieutenant Rebecca Roberts from No. 19 Squadron, Royal Air Force Flight Sergeant Sam Williams from Headquarters Integrated Area Defence System (HQIADS) and Greer Hawley, whose partner is a Royal New Zealand Air Force Flight Lieutenant at HQIADS, completed the trek late last year.

They were joined by 20 members of the local community and 60 members from Rifle Company Butterworth. 

From Moongate to Penang Hill, hikers faced an average temperature of 31 degrees and 86 per cent humidity, with an elevation of 5316m. 

Flight Lieutenant Roberts said the hike supported the Rose Foundation, a Malaysian non-governmental organisation. 

The Rose Foundation is working to change the outdated mindset surrounding the causes of cervical cancer and has made testing easier by pioneering a self-testing option. 

This has allowed women, even in the most remote village, to test themselves in the privacy of their own homes. 

“We proudly wore the official cervical cancer colour of teal in the hope that the women of Malaysia and our home nations talk bravely about cervical cancer and most importantly, get tested,” Flight Lieutenant Roberts said. 

Defence Adviser from Australia’s High Commission Kuala Lumpur Group Captain Gretchen Fryar joined the hike for the first day. 

“Having lived through day one, I cannot believe how the three women backed it up, and more, the next day,” Group Captain Fryar said.

The hikers were met at the finish line by Datuk Professor Dr Abdeeba Kamarulzaman, Chairman of the Rose Foundation and members of the Butterworth ADF community.

“Although not currently a registered event due to it being the first one, we are hoping, with the right publicity and committee, this will become an annual occurrence,” Flight Lieutenant Roberts said.

With the funds raised, a greater portion of the population will be able to access testing that will detect early stages of cervical cancer and possibly save lives. 

Since the hike, more than $8455 has been raised. The fundraising target was $8130. 

As the cost of one test is about $81, about 104 testing kits will be delivered to shelters in Penang by the Rose Foundation and Flight Lieutenant Roberts. 

To donate and find out more, visit https://www.simplygiving.com/100km-hike-for-program-rose-penang-malaysia-2

https://news.defence.gov.au/international/herculean-effort-cervical-cancer-awareness

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