Malta Football Association
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Give Cancer The Boot - In October We Play Football To Raise Breast Cancer Awareness
Sep 3, 2013
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  • photo credit - Dominic Aquilina
  • photo credit - Dominic Aquilina
  • photo credit - Dominic Aquilina
  • photo credit - Dominic Aquilina
  • photo credit - Dominic Aquilina

On Saturday 31st August the Women’s National Team and Women’s Teams participated in a Seminar organised by the Action for Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) at the Westin Dragonara Hotel in St. Julian’s sponsored by Novartis. The Breast awareness seminar was conducted by Elizabeth Vella and  Shirley Fenech Imbroll, breast care nurses at Mater Dei Hospital.


 

 

The Seminar kicked off with a press conference where Helen Muscat Chairperson of Action for Breast Cancer Foundation highlighted the fact that the seminar was mainly carried out as an eye opener for the young and vibrant team members. Equally important is the fact that the players as living the high light of the game they will take the message home, on the workplace and amongst their peers that we must all have a holistic approach towards our breast as health matters most. Tasha Pace (National team Vice-Captain) Maria Mifsud MFA Deputy General Secretary (Grassroots, Youth Development & Education), Helen Muscat (Chairperson and Co-Founder) and Esther Sant (Co-Founder) of ABCF launched the campaign of collaboration between the two entities in raising the awareness about Breast Cancer with a fitting slogan 'GIVE CANCER THE BOOT'.

 

Helen Muscat and Esther Sant, Chairperson and Co-Founders of ABCF addressed those present: “Action for Breast Cancer Foundation is honoured to be working with such active and dynamic players in a somewhat male dominated team sport. The purpose of our collaboration has various facets and ABCF wants to spread a positive message that’s being supported by women of your talent that are held as role models in the eyes of society in general. Breast cancer awareness faces a lot of challenges not only in Malta but also globally as we often hear from our counterparts abroad. The aim of the breast awareness seminar is to give you an insight and also a rather simplified approach that will shed light on the various stigma and fear barriers that often hinders women of all ages in having a holistic and basic approach towards their breasts’ heath.”

 

Our women footballers shall be the messengers of the October awareness month by visibly and actively carry our mission statement for a quality assured service for diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, which includes screening, as it offers the perspective of saving many lives by detecting cancer at earlier stages.

 

We’re delighted that we can offer you a kit to help you in doing this excise as part and parcel of your routine. We will also be donating a substantial sum of money to fund a PhD in breast cancer at the University of Malta through RIDT. Action for Breast Cancer Foundation would like to profoundly thank the Malta Football Association especially the MFA’s Women’s Football Clubs & players for the various donations that are going to be made in aid of our Foundation.”

 

During the Press Conference Maria Mifsud stated that “persons connected with sports believe they have a duty to help society as best as they can. As a woman and the person in charge of Women’s Football within the Malta Football Association, I felt it was natural to contact the Action for Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) in order to assist them as best we can to create awareness of this disease. I believe there are many women and even men who are not aware that they might be living under the shadow of cancer.

 

It is proven that physical activity helps to decrease chances of illnesses as living a healthy life certainly results in a healthier immune system. Personally, I believe that sport is a way of life. I feel it gives me the ingredients of better living in all aspects. Sport is a vehicle which opens horizons for a better standard of healthy living both in body and mind. The constant battle to improve oneself in the chosen sport and keep a balance in all aspects of one’s life really helps towards forming a strong character. This truly helps you throughout your life. However, sometimes this is not enough. Life is so fast paced and we get so integrated into our routines that we sometimes forget the things that actually matter, health being one of them.  Sometimes we take our health for granted and this is why we have chosen to undertake this campaign. Women’s football is certainly booming at present and I believe that our women’s national team is made up of wonderful, unique, strong and skilled women, qualities which attest to the excellent icons they are, as they can be inspirational for everyone. We hope that our National Team will help spread the word about this cancer and even though our players are inspirational we look up to the ABCF such as Helen and Esther as they are actually our inspiration.

 

All women’s football in October will be focused on Breast Cancer Awareness. For this we also thank the Clubs and players especially since as soon as the idea was brought to the Clubs and our National Team no one hesitated in being a part of this collaboration. I thank our National team, the Clubs and their players together with FIFA and UEFA who have not even hesitated a moment to approve this worthy initiative. The ABCF is made up of wonderful inspirational women fighting for a good cause and it is simply our pleasure and honour to collaborate with them in such a humanitarian act”, Mifsud concluded.

 

Natasha Pace, vice-captain of the National team, thanked Maria and said that she is turning many of her ideas and wishes into action. She continued, ”The word ‘action’ is very important and ABCF is a perfect example of this. Wanting to help or feeling sorry for someone but not doing anything about it is like us footballers wishing to play for the national team without training hard or not being ready to make 'small' sacrifices so as to get better and reach that goal.

 

“I know I used the word 'small' sacrifices and maybe some team mates might not agree with the use of this adjective, but I know that if they just stop to think for a few minutes what cancer patients of all ages go through and what they and their loved ones sacrifice to achieve their goal, to fight and Win the battle against cancer, then yes, OUR sacrifices are definitely nothing compared to theirs and any Victory we experience. 

 

“Maria mentioned teamwork and I really wish that the women’s national football team and all women’s' clubs, together with the ABCF become a team, one of the strongest teams ever in order to fight cancer by making women and men more aware about breast cancer and promoting healthy living.

 

Yes, winning the ‘big battle’ is foremost in our minds” said Pace.

 

In the seminar the breast care nurses stated that in Malta an average  of 250 to 300 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Although the incidence is higher in women aged between 50 and 60 years, all women are at risk. Due to ever increasing incidence it is vital that women are breast aware. The purpose of this seminar is the basic knowledge associated with breast awareness, such as looking and feeling the breast and techniques of breast self examination as well as increasing awareness of the risk factors associated with breast cancer.

 

 

Various activities in conjunction with ABCF have been planned in the following dates: 15 September – The National Team will help the public stretch and warm up and walk in the Hard Rock Pinktober walk. The Women’s National team are the official Pinktober Ambassadors; 27th October qualification match between Israel and Malta and on the 27th November Malta will play Denmark at home.

 

In October all women’s football, including all Women’s BOV League matches and the U16 League matches will aim to raise Breast Cancer Awareness. Some clubs have also showed their interest in holding specific events too, details of which will be provided closer to date.

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