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The Pink Carpet Dinner to Keep Women in the Pink of Health


Portraits of NCCS patients and their loved ones
Photos by volunteers Hilarion Goh & Annette Wong

The Asian woman is often the traditional lynchpin of the family unit - safeguarding the health of her family and ensuring the family unit remains intact. 

Breast cancer is the most common and deadliest female cancer in Singapore, and with half of Asian breast cancer patients aged 50 years and below at diagnosis, the socioeconomic ramifications are deep.

Speaking at the Pink Carpet Party, guest of honour President Halimah said, "When a woman is ill or absent from home, it leads to negative consequences for the family, with a knock-on effect on society. As a community, we should therefore do more to help individuals fight against this dreadful disease."

"There are features of breast cancer that are unique to Asian women, such as smaller and denser breasts, which poses a challenge in mammogram detection," explained Dr Elaine Lim, Director, Division of Community Outreach and Philanthropy and Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist, NCCS.

"The way to effectively combat breast cancer is through sustained and impactful research. At this event, we hope to gather more funding support for breast cancer research to tackle this important clinical problem in Singapore."

 
Pink Carpet Party, Regent Singapore, 25 October 2019

The Pink Carpet Party was a key event of the NCCS' Women versus Cancer campaign. In support of breast cancer research, guests donned pink outfits as they made their way down the pink carpet at Regent Singapore.

 
Guest of Honour, President Halimah Yacob, together with guests at the Pink Carpet Party

 
Left to right: Media Personalities Huang Shi Nan and Pan Ling Ling; Emcee for the Pink Carpet Party, Jade Seah; Host and Actress Michelle Chong and guest


Left to right: Singers Tay Ke Wei and Alfred Sim with Sammin and Band

Among the sea of pink was 33-year-old Cindy Neo, an artist and designer who was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 31. Cindy contributed  several art pieces that were auctioned to raise funds at the event. 

 
Phone Grip Pop Socket designed by Cindy Neo

One of her pieces is a playful reference to Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, called Rebirth of Venus, which is an abstract expression of how the modern woman is reborn after her cancer journey and remains a goddess of love and beauty, even with her scars. The artist uses largely pink and red hues to represent not only femininity and strength, but also blood and disease, while the touch of gold and silver symbolises the triumph over cancer.

 
Silent Auction

Cindy addressed over 200 cancer patients, clinicians, scientists, caregivers, volunteers, celebrities and philanthropic donors. "Following the diagnosis, the days ahead looked scary and unimaginable – the physical pain of having to remove a part of my body, the changes to my body and also the years of treatment and medication to follow. And how would all these affect my life as a working adult, a woman, a girlfriend, and also a wife and mother in the future?" she shared. 


With the support from friends and family members, Cindy eventually found the strength to cope and underwent a mastectomy with reconstruction in 2017 and was given oral chemotherapy drugs post-surgery.

Currently, she is on monthly injections and daily medications. She is well and is able to carry out her daily activities.

"Surrounded by loving family, caring friends and my renewed faith, my fear slowly subsided. I stopped being self-conscious of my body, and started to enjoy dressing up and meeting people again. I also found immense joy in reconnecting with the arts."

"Experimenting with various art mediums distracted me from any physical discomfort that still plagued my body and the worries that constantly ran through my head. The desire to share this joy of art-making also gave me a new direction in life. Today I run my own little studio and have shared my love of art with over 1,000 people through workshops and events."

"So to everyone out there struggling with cancer, I just want to say, look forward to the new life that you will be reborn into and not the old life that you will lose. All of us are perfect and loved just as we are. We are not inadequate or defective just because we lose a part of ourselves to cancer."

Along with four other cancer patients, Cindy received specially framed portraits from President Halimah Yacob at the event. Named Portraits of Hope, this photography service is provided by NCCS and volunteers to give patients and their loved ones the opportunity to come together for a professional family portrait.

 
Left to right: Ms Veronika Hammond, Director of Sales, BMW Group Asia; Cindy Neo, Breast Cancer Patient; Guest of Honour President Halimah Yacob; Professor William Hwang, Medical Director, NCCS

 
Another breast cancer patient, Jennifer Siow, receiving her portrait from President Halimah Yacob


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The Women versus Cancer fundraising campaign was launched in 2019 with the objective of raising awareness and funds for patient care programmes and cancer research for cancers that affect women. This year, the focus is on Breast Cancer and the campaign aims to raise at least $1 million that will go to the NCC Research Fund. In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NCCS organised various educational and fundraising activities, including a public forum, roadshow and movie screening in October.