Breast cancer: Bonding over a game of golf
Breast cancer survivors in Israel catch up on the greens with Olympians.
They bonded as a team. They had fun on a day out in the sun. Winning and losing wasn’t part of the agenda. They were winners all! Roche Israel brought together 52 women all of whom had beaten back breast cancer and they were joined on the golf course by some of the finest athletes that had represented the country to celebrate the success of their treatment and also to bring awareness on the disease and treatment possibilities.
“This is an annual event that we have been holding for the past two years. It is meant to be a day of fun and togetherness where the women can feel a joint sense of achievement, a feeling of triumph that top sports people experience when they compete at the highest level. We are fortunate that several leading Israeli athletes agreed to throw in their might to make this event such a big success,” said Yigal Carmi, Chairman of the Israeli Olympic committee.
The power to overcome challenges provides common ground between patients and athletes.
Among those who showed up at the golf course in Herzeliya, north of Tel Aviv, were surfer Lee Korzits, judo champion Yarden Gerbi, hurdler Esther Roth Shahamorov, high jumper Danielle Frenkel, Taekwondo expert Bat-El Gatterer and shooter Sergey Richter. Other well-known judokas in Israel, Roni Shwartz, Gili Cohen and Camila Minakawa, also participated. “These are some of best known athletes in our country and have participated and won medals in the Olympics, World Championships and other European level events. Their presence gave these women a lot of encouragement and the event plenty of visibility,” pointed out Bruria Bigman Israeli Olympic committee spokesperson.
Power to overcome
“Coping with difficulties during a disease or in sports can be very similar. The power to overcome these challenges provides a lot of common ground between patients and athletes,” says Avi Danziger, Roche Israel General Manager.
Speaking about the event champion judoka Yarden Gerbi mentioned: “I am here for the people, less for the golf and even more for these wonderful women.” The breast cancer survivors were also not far behind in their praise for the athletes and the event which gave them the opportunity to mix with several others like themselves. “Some companies used to do these one shot public relations events. But here we can see patients like ourselves in different stages. For example, my hair is long again and I can meet and hug others, make new friends, and we can give each other hope and strength,” commented Merav, one of the women who participated.
In addition to the golf course, efforts to bring awareness about breast cancer to the forefront were made on the basketball pitch as well. At the start of the professional basketball league in October last year players from the two teams—Herbalife Ramat Hasharon and Hapoel Petah Tikva—both wore pink for the entire duration of the opening game. The ball used during the game was also pink.
In addition a couple of members of parliament threw the ball into the basket during the break together with breast cancer survivors in an event that was broadcast nationwide. Information material about breast cancer and the Roche Reaches Out program were also distributed during the match.