The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is helping to raise awareness about cancer, one of Nigeria’s deadliest killers. Cancer related deaths in Nigeria are set to rise if urgent actions are not taken to raise awareness about early detection and to develop practical strategies to address the increasing burden. According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 116,000 new cases of cancer and 41,000 cancer-related deaths were recorded in Nigeria in 2018. If we humanise this this startling statistics, these are friends, wives, husbands, children, parents and much more.
Inspired by the commitment to save lives, the NSE instituted the NSE Corporate Challenge in 2014. The flagship corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR) event which is now a household name amongst listed, non-listed companies, dealing member firms and well-meaning individuals, is a 5km walk, jog, and run to raise awareness about the early detection, screening and treatment of cancer. It has also become a signature fundraising event where companies make cash and in-kind contributions to help reduce the scourge of cancer as part of their corporate sustainability and philanthropy agenda.
So far, the NSE Corporate Challenge has been highly successful, recording more than 2,400 runners from over 340 institutions, comprising c-suite level executives, top government officials and celebrities. Net of expenses, over N63 million ($173,000) has been raised through sponsors.
The 2019 edition turned out to be the biggest yet as over N51 million ($140,000) was raised, surpassing the record of N44.6 million ($122,600) raised in 2017. In addition to the funds raised, for the first time the NSE committed to a N20 million ($54,900) donation, bringing the total money raised at this year’s event to N71 million ($195,000). These funds will be used to advance screening and treatment of cancer in Nigeria, especially in underserved communities, working with an implementing partner that will be announced in due course. This edition also featured an individual runner category to enable persons who were willing to contribute in the fight against cancer to join in the race in their personal capacity.
In addition to the advances made in fund raising, the NSE partnered with Sebeccly Cancer Care to conduct on-site breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening for 147 participants. In the highly competitive 5km race, Austin Ani of Stanbic IBTC emerged the overall winner with a completion time of 19.05 minutes, the same feat which he achieved in the 5th edition. Paul Alabi of Aluko & Oyebode and Aliyu Lukman of Fidelity Bank Plc finished in the second and third positions, completing the race in 19.27 minutes and 19.50 minutes, respectively.
Adaobi Anikwe of the NSE, emerged the fastest female runner with a completion time of 24.58 minutes, while Rene Gabriel of Nigerian Breweries Plc emerged the winner of the senior citizen category for runners aged 50 and above, with a race time of 22.30 minutes, repeating the same result he achieved in the 2016 edition.
The road seems far but with the collective efforts of corporates such as Stanbic IBTC Plc, Dangote Cement Plc, Beta Glass Plc, FCMB Plc, SAHCO Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, UBA Group, MTN Nigeria Plc, AIICO Plc, FBN Holdings Plc, Transcorp Plc, EKEDC Ltd, IHS Towers Ltd, Seplat Petroleum Plc, Julius Berger Plc, CSCS Plc and Sterling Bank Plc, who continue to support the cause, we can reach the goal of improving the survival rate in Nigeria.