Written by (作者): Vincent R. Vinci 魏文深
Photos by (图片来源): One World One Dream
Breast cancer has seen about 1.67 million cases worldwide in 2012, making it the second most common cancer overall. Of that number, there are 800,000 cases diagnosed in Asia every year. While China has had a limited number of cases compared to worldwide numbers, breast cancer cases in the country have been increasing since the 2000s, with 187,000 new cases in 2012. Be that as it may, the topic is often swept under the rug, a taboo subject that shouldn’t be addressed, a stigma to be avoided. For a group of foreign women here in Ningbo, the silence was too much, and in 2014 they decided to do something about it.
The initial idea that led to One World One Dream came to Heather Zuchowski, Sally Moore, Wendy Treese, Sammi Li, and Jessica Hinkler after Jessica’s mother passed away from breast cancer in April 2014. The friends felt that something needed to be done withthe reality of the disease being closer to home, and that idea was to host a fundraiser for women with breast cancer. The OWOD charity was created in June when the group met with the Ningbo Charity Federation prior to the event to discuss how the donation proceeds would be given to the organization.
The fundraiser was a success, and the rest is history. Their mission, helping the women of the city to deal with breast cancer, has brought many triumphs in the past year and this is what has brought the group to the high ceilings and chandelier-lit lobby of Shangri-La Hotel to discuss OWOD and their challenges and goals for the upcoming year.
It is around a table in the lobby that I am introduced to the women who currently make up OWOD. Of the original founders, Heather and Sally Moore are present, along with Cindy Braden, Stephanie Six, and Jenny Welsh. As we talk, a fine white wine enters our midst, a clink of glasses permeates the lobby, a tradition started years ago by these?expat ladies. The women have all lived in Ningbo for varying years, but the one thing that binds them is that they were all affected by breast cancer. Whether it was a loved one or friend, or previous experiences in breast cancer related charities in the case of Heather, Jessica, and Cindy, these experiences made the cause a central part of their lives.
The average cost for chemotherapy treatment in China is 300,000 RMB, a cost that does not include other treatments and medication. The government will pay individuals 100,000 RMB to cover chemotherapy and some of the medication. High costs are coupled with an 80% mortality rate for breast cancer victims, which OWOD?posits as the results of late detection and the cost of chemo. Their hope is that with early detection, women will have more treatment options (besides chemo) thereby increasing survival rates.
Because of a lack of early detection, Heather explains to me that “many women don’t start receiving treatment until stage 4, and by then there aren’t many options [for treatment].” This has been the group’s primary concern, the ability for women to be able to pay for breast cancer treatment, to get what they need for the long-run to stay afloat.
It is with this in mind that OWOD held their first Pink Party, their fundraiser gala dinner that now occurs every October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – at Shangri-La, in 2014. Thanks to the proceeds, they were?able to raise 26,000 RMB. The money went to help 6 women in the Ningbo area, each receiving 3,000 RMB, for treatment with the rest going to an emergency fund at the Ningbo Charity Foundation. Unfortunately,?this led to frustration and sadness for the group because they were only able to make a drop in the bucket instead of helping more. The next year was better, as the group was able to raise 57,000 RMB and help 8 women with 6,000 RMB each.
Even with the gradual success of the 2015 Pink Par ty, OWOD still faces an uphill battle. The biggest challenge the group still faces is the Chinese stigma associated with the conversation of breast cancer – or even cancer in general. The best way to have people talk openly about something guarded by stigma is events. Cindy tells me of a 5 Year Survivor Celebration she attended. The event brought men and women who had suffered and fought off all kinds of cancer together. What was supposed to be a small meeting saw a big turnout, with people telling their stories and sharing with one another how cancer had affected them. Something OWOD hopes can be repeated in the future.
Along with breaking the stigma, there is the matter of educating people about the disease and the importance of early detection. One thing people need to understand is that men, not just women, can get breast cancer as well. The fact bought a look of confusion to this author’s face, met with jovial laughter from the women. Although less than 1% of all breast cancer cases develop in men, the plight of these victims must be taken into consideration when we talk about breast cancer.
The most important thing OWOD wants is for people around the city and China to understand is that with early detection and treatment , the survival rate can greatly increase. Due to the current lack of understanding, women undergoing treatment are often too late, something the organization wants to change by starting an information campaign to teach women how to do breast self-exams, which are entirely free and can be done at home.
With the self-exam information campaign the group hopes to break through the stigma of discussing breast cancer more. There is also hopes for another Pink Party, during which OWOD wants to raise 75,000 RMB or more, but a full plan is still up in the air. The biggest thing the group of 5 wants this year is for more people to rally to their cause, and not just help fundraise and spread the word, but ultimately join One World One Dream as well.
“It’s a real grey area for long-term goals because we don’t know how long we’re all going to be here” she says. With the women unsure of how long their work and lives will keep them in Ningbo and China, they are hoping that their efforts can inspire more women to join them and to hand the baton off to these young guns once their time comes to leave the country. “We’re always looking for people who are passionate about this and are looking to help to some capacity.” The more people they can reach, whether it be companies or individuals, the better it will be. This way, the more people available who are able to volunteer and help when needed the easier things will flow and?help the fight against breast cancer spread and grow around the city. “There are a lot of people who need help,” Heather pauses, “and we’re just a small group of women, so we need help to do this, to continue.”
No matter the challenges faced by the women of One World One Dream, their outlook is optimistic, geared only towards counting their successes in the face of the battles ahead. Their first Pink Party only saw 83 people attend, mostly foreigners. Last year, it was over 150 people, split 50/50 with more Chinese attending. 2016 brings?new hopes and goals, but these will come with patience and time. The white wine makes the rounds again, the familiar clink returning. The tradition continues for this group of wonderful ladies, making plans for the betterment of the community, one sip of wine at a time.
在2012年，世界范围内已经有167万例乳腺癌患者，它成了发病率第二高的癌症。这167万例中，有80万是在亚洲。虽然中国的乳腺癌患者和其他国家相比不算多，但自2000年以来这个数字正在增长，光是2012年就新增了18.7万例。尽管如此，人们却选择对这个话题避而不谈。对于在宁波的外籍女士来说，这太难以接受了，所以在2014年，她们决定要为此做些什么。Heather Zuchowski、Sally Moore、Wendy Treese、Sammi L i 和Jessic a Hinkler 萌生关于“一个世界一个梦想”（OWOD）的最初想法，是在2014 年4 月Jessica 的母亲因乳腺癌去世的时候。这群好朋友感到乳腺癌的威胁近在咫尺，需要马上做些什么。她们想为乳腺癌患者举办一次募捐活动。同年6 月，在和宁波癌症康复协会商讨筹集款项最终去向的过程中，她们成立了OWOD 慈善机构。
就是在香格里拉，我认识了“一个世界一个梦想”组织的女士们。最初的创始人中，Heather和Sally出席了年会，其他的成员还有Cindy Braden、Stephanie Six和Jenny Welsh。就在说话期间，侍者为我们打开一瓶白葡萄酒，大家举杯共饮。几年以来，这已经成为女士们的一项传统。她们都在宁波住了一些年，而把她们聚到一起的是身边的人罹患乳腺癌的相似经历。Heather、Jessica和Cindy之前在慈善机构工作时都有过接触乳腺癌患者的经历，因此OWOD组织以及它为之奋斗的事业在她们心中举足轻重。
虽然2 0 1 5 的粉红派对已经很成功了，OWOD还是面临考验。最大的挑战就是国人对乳腺癌，或者说所有癌症的避讳态度。而举办活动是改善这类情况的最好办法。Cindy告诉我她曾参加过一场癌症存活者5周年纪念活动。这个活动让为对抗各种癌症奋战过的男女共聚。原本是小规模的聚会，结果却来了好多人，大家彼此分享自己的故事和经验。OWOD希望这场活动的成功经验能被借鉴。
If you’d like to help One World One Dream in their fight for better breast cancer treatment in Ningbo, be sure to take part in the 2016 Pink Party on October 14th at the Westin Ningbo from 6:00 PM-12:00 AM. Along with dinner and drinks there will be live entertainment, gift auctions and giveaways throughout the evening.
Tickets are 300 RMB/person and can be purchased in advance by scanning the QR Code below, clicking “Pink派对” in the lower panel and “Buy Tickets” in the pop up menu for more information.