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Katharina Reimer, Executive Director, Karen Leung Foundation


Katharina Reimer, Executive Director, Karen Leung Foundation

September commemorates Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month – I am grateful to be here today to talk about an issue that is the driving force behind the Karen Leung Foundation, and the work I and the team does day in and day out since 2013. 

The Karen Leung Foundation is the first and only registered Hong Kong charity that is solely dedicated to reducing the impact of gynaecological cancers. I’ve been at the helm of it for almost six years, and have witnessing the direct impact we were and are able to make within the local community, which is nothing short of life-changing. It is no secret that these last 20 month have been unprecedentedly difficult, yet even in a COVID world, we should always look for a silver linings. 

As a collective, we learn to adapt, support and evolve. In relation to the Foundation, with health at the forefront of every ones’ minds right now, there is no better time to reflect and reshuffle ones health priorities. 

An important question to ponder for all of us is: What is the most important thing in your life? This can be anything from your parents, siblings, children, job or even your pet. Whatever it is; imagine life without it, and vice versa. It may be a cliché, but for good reason; your health is the most important thing in this entire world for both your loved ones and yourself. 

For women, gynaecological cancers are prevalent and if not detected early, deadly. There are five main types: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. Globally, ovarian cancer ranks 5th in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer in the female reproductive system with uterine ranking 6th in cancer deaths and cervical cancer ranking 7th. 

In Hong Kong, a woman dies every other day of gynaecological cancer. In 2019, cervical cancer deaths accounted for over 2.6% of the local population. And the alarming thing about this is that up to 93% of cervical cancers are preventable through early detection and education. 

So it really all starts with awareness, one of the Foundation’s core pillars alongside Prevention and Care & Support. Awareness is also key in reducing the social stigma associated with cancer and the “The ExtraOrdinary Exhibition”, one of our flagship programmes is aimed in doing just that. 

The Exhibition really is a health awareness campaign, that’s aims to educate and impact peoples’ attitudes, perspectives and behaviors towards gynaecological cancers, yet through the transformative nature of the arts. 

Due to both conservative culture and social stigma, many women in Hong Kong feel uncomfortable or ashamed to even talk about gynaecological health, let alone seek the resources they deserve. The overarching theme of the show is the celebration of the female body and last year’s Exhibition included 18 contributing artists, 40 artworks, and was shown across three physical locations in Hong Kong. 

This year’s show’s sub theme is “the B.O.D.Y.s Language; well-being starts with understanding” and we are supported by over 20 artists working across various art genres. The Exhibit will travel across 4 locations this year and all art is for sale. Every piece sold will yield 50% percent of the proceeds in funding for KLF’s programmes to address the needs of Hong Kong women as well as to create more impactful programmes that last. 

The ExtraOrdinary Exhibition kicked off this Week at the Eaton Hotel with a capsule collection, followed by the Hari Hotel with another capsule collection showing for three month, followed by Soho House and over at WomanBoss in SSP to wrap it all up. 

Head to our website for details and to register. Don’t forget to follow us on the various social media channels for timely updates. 

 #ThePowerofPrevention #TheExtraOrdinaryExhibition #TheExtraOrdinaryMe   

The song I'd like to deidcate to our listeners is "Let's talk about Sex" by Salt 'N ' Pepper. 

Letter To Hong Kong

Politicians and public figures from a range of backgrounds take turns to have their say on important matters of the day in this personal view programme.

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