Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, September 05, 2008

500-km cancer benefit bike tour set

Tour of Hope Bikers with Tricia Chiongbian (3rd from left) and Dr. Cecilia Llave (2nd from right).

An all-women's team is set to pedal 500 kilometers from Vigan in Ilocos Sur down to Olongapo in Zambales province from September 13 to 17 for the Philippine leg of Tour of Hope (TOH), a worldwide campaign to promote cervical cancer prevention.

Team David's Salon, the Philippines' first-all women multi-sport team, will lead the event. Joining the team is sports personality and triathlete Tricia Chiongbian.

"I'm very excited about it. I think it's a great way to promote awareness about cervical cancer, which is sadly the second highest killing cancer of women," she said during the TOH Philippine leg launch Thursday in Makati City.

The Philippine leg of the TOH is the first for this year. The second one is scheduled for 15 days in Thailand in November.

Team David's Salon first joined the TOH in 2006 during the Singapore to Bangkok leg.

Team David's Salon member Joyette Jopson, meanwhile, shared her experiences while doing the TOH leg from Singapore to Penang.

"Last year, my teammates joined TOH from Singapore to Penang. The nine days were truly an amazing and rewarding experience for us," she said, adding that team members were able to explore the Malaysian countryside and do what they like best, which is biking, while promoting cervical cancer awareness.

The team is made up of nine members. Some come from national teams while the rest are beginners and enthusiasts.

This year, Jopson and five other members of Team David's will be joined by 13 other female cyclists who have embraced the active outdoor lifestyle.

"We're about to make history because this will be the first bike tour where there will be more female members than males," Jopson said.

Aside from doing the TOH and providing information about cervical cancer at each stop, Jopson said they hope to promote the Philippines as a biking tour destination.

Funds generated through sponsorships or pledges will be automatically donated to the Cancer Institute Foundation for the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (CECAP).

The TOH will have its Ilocos Sur stops in Vigan and Candon; in Alaminos, Pangsinan; and, in Iba and Olongapo in Zambales.

The Tour is divided into the following stages and distances: Vigan-Candon (65 km), Candon-Agoo (105 km), Agoo-Alaminos (115 km), Alaminos-Iba (125) and Iba-Olongapo (80 km).

At each stop, doctors from CECAP will give lectures to around 50 to 100 women about cervical cancer prevention and vaccination.

The TOH is a non-profit initiative of a group of people from backgrounds set up to do bicycle tours to increase the awareness and raise funds for health prevention and education projects for resource-limited communities. ABS CBN NEWS

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