Bigger and somewhat different, iThemba Walkathon goes virtual and national

As technology and life on earth continue to evolve, we are constantly faced with the need to adapt, or as they say 'perish'. To cushion against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Avon Justice South Africa unveiled details for the "bigger, better and somewhat different" 2020 iThemba Walkathon, which goes virtual for the first time, and beyond Johannesburg - to now become a nation-wide breast cancer awareness initiative.

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“Bigger, better and somewhat different”, is how Mafahle Mareletse, managing director of Avon Justine Turkey, Middle East & Africa, chose to best describe this year’s edition of the iThemba Walkathon, as he delivered an address during a virtual media launch event on Wednesday.

Now its 15th year, the first ever national and virtual iThemba Walkathon will once again see personal care brand Avon Justine join hands with its non-governmental partners to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and education on Monday, August 31.

The decision to continue hosting this annual event, the biggest Avon breast cancer walkathon worldwide, is in response to increased risk of infection and “possibilities of patients developing severe complications during the lockdown due to reduced capacity of public health facilities – owing to increased cases of Covid-19 infections and deferred treatment of breast cancer cases”, the company said in a statement.

As such, the 2020 iThemba Walkathon will be hosted virtually at the comfort and safety of the participants’ homes and neighbourhoods.

The funds raised from the event will, among other things, be donated to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), Wings of Hope, Look Good…Feel Better and Journeysys.

Participants can purchase iThemba Walkathon tickets for R150 for adults, R100 for children under the age of 12 years and free entry for children under the age of 2 years from the iThemba Walkathon.

Once registered and their participation is confirmed, they will receive a link to download the all new (iThemba Walkathon) App, which they can use to receive breast cancer education and reminders of the event closer to the date.

During the event, participants can choose any route of their choice, and will – during the event – receive push notifications informing them of the distance they’ve walked.

Lebo Motsoeli, host and MC for the 2020 iThemba Walkathon media launch

The App also has a tracking functionality that allows participants to track and share their walking route in real time with their loved ones. The App also allows them to share on social media their pictures on customised iThemba Walkathon frames – using the hashtag #2020iThembaWalkathon.

“Though it is critical that we should marshal all available resources to contain the spread of Covid-19, it is equally important that we should also ensure that breast cancer patients and survivors also receive the necessary support, particularly now during these uncertain times when health facilities are under severe strain,” Mareletse said.

By hosting the virtual national iThemba Walkathon, “we are casting the net wider and giving all South Africans the opportunity to walk for a purpose and contribute meaningfully in the fight against breast cancer”, he added.

iThemba Walkathon will take place virtually for the first time on August 31

“This virtual national iThemba Walkathon will give survivors of breast cancer the opportunity to celebrate the milestone they have achieved, and will mark a triumph of the human spirit as encapsulated under the theme: My Time to Make  Difference, Watch me now.”

The first 30,000 participants to register for the 2020 edition of the iThemba Walkathon will receive a walk pack which comprises of Avon/Justine product/s, a free commemorative t-shirt and other goodies from corporate voices who support the promotion of breast health

As part of its breast cancer awareness drive, Avon Justine and its partners will be launching a new breast cancer logo in September. More information about this will be provided on https://www.avonworldwide.com/supporting-women/breast-cancer.

*For brand focused South African news and heads-up on the great things your favourite lifestyle brands are doing to empower local communities, make sure to visit the NOWinSA/Empower SA page daily!

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Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.