Relay for Life on June 3 in Thimphu will be held to bring together community, stakeholders, and caregivers to celebrate the lives of those who have survived cancer and are undergoing treatment.

Coinciding with the global month of survival, June, the event will showcase cancer survivorship, stage solidarity for fight against cancer, and highlight importance of care and support for impactful treatment.

The event is also an opportunity to celebrate the memory of loved ones lost to cancer, stated the press release from Bhutan Cancer Society.

The relay race will be used as a medium to stage solidarity, communicate and spread the awareness because of the sport’s similarity to the nature of cancer treatment.

Founder and the executive director of Bhutan Cancer Society, Dechen Wangmo, said the majority of the cancer cases were diagnosed either in the third or fourth stage.

“There is not much we can do at that stage. Among general population, there is a high level of stigma and cancer is viewed as a death sentence,” she said.

Dechen Wangmo said the government and communities need to come together to create enabling environment so that people with cancer can live longer and are able to fight the disease.

“Government also has the responsibility of providing not just treatment, but also care and support. It has an impact on treatment outcome,” she said.” Cancer patients come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. It is very important to look at these disparities.”

The team or family event will be an opportunity for knowledge exchange and to create awareness about cancer. The event’s aim will be fighting cancer together, sharing responsibilities, and raising hope together.

With children as young as nine years old expected to join the event, the organizers said it would be an opportunity for the children to cultivate humanitarian values.

About ten relay teams have registered for the event so far.

“We need to raise awareness; we have to not only see the numbers, but also need to find out why things are happening the way they are. There is little investment in research,” said Dechen Wangmo.

Coinciding with the race at the athletic ground, Relay for Life will witness Tsheten Dorji with his team walk from Paro town from 4am in the morning to Thimphu.

The walk is Tsheten Dorji‘s initiative to show his solidarity and support for fight against cancer, press release stated.

The most common cancers in Bhutan are cancers of the stomach and food pipe, cervical cancer, cancers of head and neck (mouth, throat, and nose). Lung, liver, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers are also common.