Last 2009, I was one of the lucky bloggers to witness the last leg of The Tour of Hope 2009. The Tour of Hope was held from May 24 – 28, 2009 and took the Southern Luzon route from Muntinlupa City all the way to scenic Camarines Sur.
Tour of Hope is a 5-day charity cycling event that aims to raise funds and awareness for cervical cancer prevention. For the previous years, lay forums on cervical cancer was conducted per stop to help women in these communities learn more about this deadly but little known disease.
But this year, they will take an extra mile to fight against cervical cancer.
How far would you go to save 500 women?
For the dedicated cyclists of the upcoming “Tour of Hope 2011- 00: Going the Xtra Mile Against Cervical Cancer,” it will take 500 kilometers in 5 days. They will undertake the challenging 5-day journey from Manila to Laoag in order to help raise funds for cervical cancer prevention vaccination drives and seminars.
“What makes this year’s Tour of Hope different is that we are going to vaccinate a total of 500 women during the tour,” explains Abbygale Arenas-de Leon, Bravehearts president. “We wanted the tour to be more than just a way to spread awareness about cervical cancer prevention. We hope this will inspire more women to take action against this deadly but preventable disease.”
Recently, the exciting details of the biggest anti-cervical cancer were revealed at the official launch of this year’s Tour of Hope, which was organized by Bravehearts in partnership with Team David’s Salon and GlaxoSmithKline. The event was held at R.O.X., the biggest outdoor sports and recreation hub in Southeast Asia and hosted by celebrity athlete Tricia Chiongbian-Concepcion, who will also be cycling to help save women from cervical cancer in the Tour of Hope.
In a country where cervical cancer claims the lives of 12 women everyday, the need to fight this disease has only become more urgent over the years.
“I would like to encourage women to be screened for cervical cancer regularly,” said Dr. Cecilia Llave, Program Director of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (CECAP). “The disease is treatable through early detection. In fact, not only is it treatable, it can also be avoided by living a healthy lifestyle and getting vaccinated.”
Since The Tour of Hope started in 2008, it has generated approximately Php 2 million through sponsorships and pledges. These were then used for cervical cancer screening programs and lectures with the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (CECAP).
However, if you think that The Tour of Hope is all about the bikers, think again. Over the past two years, the event organizers have formed partnerships with local government units such as those of Tarlac, Dagupan, Pampanga, La Union, and Baguio in order to conduct lectures during each stopover of the tour to local communities with marginalized groups who display poor health-seeking behavior.
What’s in Store for The Tour of Hope 2011
Aside from the challenging journey, The Tour of Hope has always been known for bringing its participants to scenic locations such as Vigan, Zambales, and Camarines Sur. This year is no exception. The Tour of Hope 2011 – 500: Going the Xtra Mile Against Cervical Cancer will kick off at the TriNoma Mall in Quezon City on May 28, 2011.
The first stop will be at Tarlac City, Tarlac. It is the home of President Noynoy Aquino’s ancestral house and Mount Pinatubo, where adventure-seeking 4×4 wheel drivers try their skills, and hikers visit the crater. The tour will then continue to San Fernando, La Union, where the renowned La Union Botanical Gardens is located. Afterwards, the bikers will head to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, where historical churches and ancestral homes that reflect the beauty of old world architecture can be found. The fourth stop will be Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, where tourists often visit the Juan Luna Shrine. There, visitors can get a glimpse of the award-winning Spolarium painter’s life through vintage photographs and household artifacts. The final stop for this year’s Tour of Hope is Paoay, where bikers will get to see the unique blend of Spanish, Chinese, and architecture represented by Paoay Church, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The last leg of the tour will feature celebrity bikers such as Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, Marvin Kiefer, Rovilson Fernandez, Troy Montero, Aubrey Miles, Will Devaughn, Richie Hardin, Richard Herrera, Janna Victoria, Gem Padilla, Anthony Pangilinan, and David Charlton. They will be lending their star power to draw attention to a good cause. In addition, Tessa Prieto-Valdes is currently working on a special project that will also help raise funds for cervical cancer prevention.
As part of the preparations for the upcoming Tour of Hope, there will also be a Mini Tour of Hope that will be held on May 7 at Filinvest, Alabang. This is a great way for biking enthusiasts to show their support for the anti-cervical cancer advocacy, and everyone is invited to join.
“On behalf of Bravehearts, I’d like to encourage everyone to join the fight against cervical cancer,” Abbygale Arenas-de Leon said. “For all the women, do it for your families and loved ones. And for all the men, I encourage you to support the cervical cancer prevention advocacy for your mothers, sisters, and daughters. With your help, thousands of lives can be saved.”
Bravehearts is a non-profit organization initially led by the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (CECAP) for the Cancer Institute Foundation (CIF). It is dedicated to raising awareness on cervical cancer prevention and is supported by a growing number of women, including prominent personalities such as Abbygale Arenas-de Leon, who is the current president of the organization, Senator Loren Legarda, Pia Magalona, Ellen Tordesillas, Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Jeena Lopez, Maimai Davao, Joyette Jopson, and Suzi Entrata. For further inquiries, please email [email protected]. To be a part of The Tour of Hope 2011 – 500: Going the Xtra Mile Against Cervical Cancer, please email Joyette Jopson at [email protected] or contact her at 0917-8827352.