On Thursday the 3rd of June, the Women of the Greek Community in Perth hosted a Biggest Morning tea, raising money for the Cancer Council. The event took place at the Hall of Alexander the Great and was held in the presence of His Grace Bishop Elpidios of Kyaneon. The Consul for Greece in Perth, Mrs Georgia Karasiotou, was also in attendance as the Key Note Speaker for the function.
The event was well attended this year by close to 300 ladies and is the 15th year that this fundraiser has been held. The event this year raised $12,727 which brings the total raised to $158,799.40 over the 15 years. Through the Cancer Council, the money raised each year works in three ways. Firstly, to help prevent cancer through programs such as the SunSmart School Program; second, to provide funding for important cancer research; and third, to support families who are affected and suffering from cancer.
In his brief message His Grace, on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, thanked the organising committee for their tireless efforts in producing such an outstanding event. His Grace called to the stage all the women who worked hard to make this event successful and reminded all how the women have always played a crucial role in the life of the church and how they have always been at the front line willing to assist in any way possible. His Grace, making reference to the Scriptures, stated how it was the courageous women who were the first ones to visit Christ’s tomb at a time when great fear prevailed over all Jerusalem.
The Consul of Greece in Perth, Mrs Georgia Karasiotou, was the keynote speaker and briefly presented data and information on cancer and relevant policies in Greece stating that:
– The Health System in Greece is undergoing enormous transformation in recent years, following the economic crisis and the implementation of structural reforms in the context of the Economic Adjustment Programmes. This is of particular importance for the effective prevention and management of chronic diseases such as cancer.
– Although life expectancy remains in Greece higher than the European average, over 40% of deaths can be attributed to behavioural risk factors, such as smoking and obesity. Many years of life after age 65 are spent with chronic diseases and disabilities. Cancer is responsible for around 27% of deaths in Greece, with lung cancer on top of the list.
– Although the culture of prevention through regular health check-ups exists in theory in Greece, cancer screening is not as systematic and uptake is strongly influenced by educational level. Only 11% of cancers are diagnosed through screening while 50% are discovered after going to the doctor for other health issues. The pandemic has radically reduced screening rates, as there is reluctance to visit medical facilities.
– The comprehensive National Public Health Strategy for the period 2021-2025 includes policies relating to the prevention and management of cancer, most notably the promotion of a healthier (essentially smoke-free) lifestyle, access to free screenings for common preventable types of cancer and upgrade of services related to pain relief and palliative care of cancer patients.
– The body in Greece with similar aims and activities as the Australian Cancer Council is the Hellenic Cancer Society, founded in 1958.
Finally, the Committee of the Women of the Greek Community in Perth extended their warm thanks to His Grace, the Consul, to everyone involved in supporting the event and to all those who have continued to support the event over its 15 year history.