IJOYA is an annual Health Education event aimed at using Dance, Exercise, Wellness Talks, Free Screening and Organic Products Exhibition to create awareness against Cancer, while encouraging Healthy Living and Lifestyle. It was debut in 2017 with the objective to innovatively promote Healthy Lifestyle and Living tagged “DEWS” Of Life (Dance; Exercise; Wellness & Screening).
The event organized by Niola Cancer Care Foundation in partnership with reputable fitness and exercise outfits, Cancer Foundations and Collaborative organization is designed with the purpose of exploring Dance, Exercise, Wellness activities, Voluntary Screening and the Exhibition Of Organic Food items in a bid to reduce risk of colorectal cancer while creating awareness about the disease.
At her formative state, our first idea was to disguise the system of cancer awareness to the general public, due to the fact that a lot of people shy from the responsibility or eagerness to get screened or pay attention to frequent medical checkups. The truth remains that communicating with Nigerian and Africans at large is not an easy feet when it has to do with anything that contradicts our religious ideas, systematic beliefs and poses as opposites to our flamboyant or careless eating habits. But because Nigerians are passionate about dancing, we saw an opportunity to pass our message of Healthy living through playful engagements, whereby shadowing the boring evangelistic approach of shouting at the top of our voices, to just dance and exercise.
On our first year, we recorded about fifty (50) participants, which most of which were volunteers, members of trustees and very few external bodies. But over the years, we’ve had great success, having about two thousand participants in 2018 at the National stadium. 2019 brought forth good news too, as the event was also a huge success growing and making strong impact in the society. But unfortunately, we couldn’t have IJOYA in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic that ravished the World and forced a compulsory global lockdown.
Be it as it may, we were still able to have virtual engagements and symposiums that discussed the issues of cancer and how it has skyrocketed its ugly presence in our society. And as God may have it, 2021 came with smiles and more opportunity for us to have a physical event at Teslim Balogun Stadium.
At IJOYA, we take Participants through aerobics, dancing, exercise and screening at enclosed open space through;
• Creation of awareness on risk factors related to Colorectal Cancer and other cancers & related health issues.
• Sensitization on simple and safe methods for reducing risk for Colorectal Cancer, other cancers & health issues.
• Bridging the gap between providers of organically grown food produce and participants who need the produce to support a healthy lifestyle.
• Provision for free Colorectal Cancer Screening test using the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) which detects blood from the lower intestines (early sign suggestive of colorectal cancer). The test method is not affected by food nor medicines.
• Provision of highly subsidized follow up investigations in the event of positive test results among screened participants.
So far, our record shows that we have been able to screen up to a thousand people through the IJOYA platform. Also, it is worthy to note that the event is Free Entry, as Participants are encouraged to get sportingly kit while attending.
In her years of operation, IJOYA have had the privilege of hosting high profiles such as The First Lady of Niger state, The First Lady of Ogun state, The First Lady of Kebbi state and representative of The First Lady of Lagos state amongst other dignitaries. We also have a growing list of hearty compatriots who serve as our Ambassadors, giving in so much of their time, energy and resources to push our relevance in the eyes and ears of their loyal fan base; Lilian Amah, Keppy ekpenyong and Erick Didie.
Through IJOYA, Niola Cancer Care Foundation hopes to give her best towards awareness campaign against colorectal cancer. We’ve succeed in the previous years through the partnership of many (Individuals and Brands), we will surely do more in the coming years.
SPENDING CHRISTMAS WITH CANCER WARRIOR (#SCWCW)
The cost of cancer care can seriously be a concern to a weighty degree if you or any family member has been diagnosed with cancer. Bills and debt can add up quickly, and people always seek financial help soon after being diagnosed. Coping with daily financial responsibilities may sometimes seem overwhelming, as the pressure of maintaining and sustaining life after diagnosis is never an easy feet.
The Spending Christmas With Cancer Patients initiative is an outreach program of Niola Cancer Care Foundation that was born out of the burdensome thoughts from a painful experience. It came about from my experience; when my husband was sick, I noticed that a lot of people don’t reach out to us during Christmas days because they were busy celebrating their holidays with their families (of course, which is a right thing to do as the holiday period was designed for resting after the laborious year). But being at the hospital with other patients and their caregivers, I saw how lonely we were around our corners, this was compared to how much of activities we had at our homes before the sickness of my husband started. We normally would entertain a lot of visitors on Christmas day, having so much to eat, drink and merry with lots of laughter and joy flying around the house.
So after my late husband had died in 2013, I thought of many ways to reach out to those that were still sick and would be lonely at the hospitals during the Christmas period. The main motive and focus for us in the construction of the idea was not just mere activity but a sincere gesture of love that would bring smiles to their faces, give them hope and let them know that they are not alone regardless of how empty their hearts feel at the very complex and pressuring season of their life.
I sincerely believe that anything that comes from a willing heart always have a way of commanding willing souls that would form so kind of relieve and support towards what you do. So with this idea deep in my heart and with the compassion I shared it with many others, we started receiving gift items of many sorts to share along with the ones we had. It grew from just a personal idea to something a lot of people became committed to joining us in. Our support system grew from just individuals to corporate bodies and organizations willing to reach out with as much as they can and so far, we’ve had this initiative running from 2014 to 2021 with the exception of 2019 due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
As an NGO that is committed to the mandate of reaching out and helping patients, Niola Cancer Care Foundation supports cancer patients and other available patients with Colostomy bags, Organic Food stuffs and Fruits, Toiletries and other gift items.
We really hope to do more in the coming years with the support of as many bodies we can have. I believe that no gesture of love is a small deal, as giving is acceptable according to what a man has to give, not determined by the quantity.