RBC Royal Bank has opened registration for the 2022 edition of RBC Race for the Kids in Trinidad and Tobago, to be held on October 9. It will feature both a 5k and a 15k race.
Now in its seventh year, the race is a major fundraiser for the RBC Children’s Cancer Fund, which has already helped over 229 children across the Caribbean.
One such child is Sidara Akalloo, 11, who recently defied the odds to sit and pass the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) for her first-choice school. Speaking on Wednesday at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann's, at the launch of the race, Akalloo emphasised how vital every ounce of support is for children with cancer.
"Children with cancer, as well as their parents, defy the odds each day. We need help. Cancer challenges your very existence as well as your financial resources."
She added: "Whenever the hospital runs out of resources for our liver function tests, our scans of all types and different tests, it is the RBC Children's Cancer Fund that ensures that our needs are met and we will live to fight another day."
Akallo expressed her gratitude to the cancer fund and gave particular prominence to its role in fighting the illness, saying, "We fight like lions just to ensure we can survive against this dreadful disease. Many parents on my ward become unemployed and families are broken as children with cancer need full-time care and our hospitilisations are complex. Families with children who have cancer have limited resources.
" It is a great comfort to know that we have RBC Children's Cancer Fund to assist us along the way."
She expressed her immense hope that people will go out and support this worthy cause.
Managing director of RBC Royal Bank Richard Downie said this race has one sole, significant purpose: creating brighter prospects for children diagnosed with cancer.
He said, "It's a purpose that provides hope for children across the Caribbean to have a fighting chance in a battle that seeks to rob them of a future."
To date, he saidthe race has seen over 325,000 participants who have collectively helped raise more than CAD$74 million.
He went on to highlight Akalloo as the quintessential illustration of whom this race aims to come to the aid of.
"Sidara Akalloo describes herself as a dancer, an artist, an inventor and a teacher too, and has committed to remaining positive; confident she will overcome her ailment and achieve her dreams."
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh encouraged Akalloo and affirmed his desire to see her lead an extraordinary life, saying, "Sidara said she hopes she can lead a normal life.
"I hope you don't.
"Let me explain to you why. You spoke about cancer and your fight. There is a saying in the cancer world: 'Cancer may have started the fight, but you will finish it.' That is what you have been put on earth for. You are not destined to lead a normal life. You are destined to lead an abnormally inspirational life.
"Normal lives are for normal people like me. You, my dear, have been put on earth to do something far greater, to have an effect on other people."