- We would like to know Runcie C.W. Chidebe and his background
Am Runcie C.W. Chidebe, from Oba town, Idemili South LGA, Anambra State. I attended Government Secondary School, Gwarimpa, Life-Camp, Abuja. I have diploma in Social Work and graduated as the Best in my class with Distinction; and I also have a Bachelors of Science in Psychology/Sociology & Anthropology, and emerged as the Best Graduating Student in the Department of Psychology 2012/2013, all from the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I am a cancer control advocate and the founder of Project PINK BLUE.
- You are the founder of Project Pink Blue, what inspired you in carrying out such a task; you could have been busy with your profession, doing other businesses etc. When and how did it all start and what inspired you? What inspired you to start up the organisation?
Project PINK BLUE started as my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) personal community development service project. I was touched by pains of cancer patients and the passion to be part of Nigeria’s solution, instead of just complaining. Hence, after my NYSC, my team and I continued with the inititative.
- Tell us more about the Project Pink Blue and projects carried out so far and soon to be carried out.
Project PINK BLUE- Health & Psychological Trust Centre is a cancer nonprofit engaged in reducing the incidence of cancer and phasing-out the late/advanced diagnosis of cancer in Nigeria through creating cancer awareness, providing free cancer screenings, working with cancer survivors in advocacy and support to people battling with cancer in poor, rural and hard-to-reach communities. We currently work with three (3) female cancer survivors and one (1) male breast cancer who are fronting a stronger campaign, reminding the population that cancer affect, not some ‘special’ people, but ‘everyone’ –core misconception about cancer in local communities. The team aspires to make more measurable significant change in the way Nigerians think about cancer. We have organized community outreaches in some communities in Abuja, such as: Kabusa, Kuje, Kubwa, and otherwise, we have also done some projects in Anambra State and Lagos State.
- Were you at any point scared of the dream if it won’t work and how did you overcome?
Well, I would say that I never set out to start-up Project PINK BLUE or any Non-Governmental organization. It was an accidental situation. After my NYSC, I wanted to move on with my life and possibly expand on my business which media solutions or strengthen my academic prowess with Masters degree and otherwise. But, I saw a need, I realized that more women are dying of preventable cancers; I realized that awareness of cancer is extremely low in the rural community and there is massive misconception about what cancer is. Essentially, is not about a clearly defined dream, but, we are currently defining the dream and building on existing structures. Notwithstanding, they have been blue days and pathetic situations, but, the happiness of the women we are helping have been the stimulating factor. The happiness that we are living for something worthy is reassuring.
- How do you source for funds?
Several organizations, companies and individuals have supported us. Though when we started it was difficult to get financial support, well, its still difficult; but we are engaging people and people are seeing our impact. We raise funds using various platforms like corporate sponsorship, donations and partnerships. Its been a rough road, but, there is always a meeting point. However, we used a dynamic approach that I think would be interesting to so many start-ups. It is called the “need-approach”. What’s “need-approach”? It’s simply, we need 10 x 8 banners we simply write a letter to a printing company, we need water for the women we write letter to bottling companies and otherwise. That’s the secret, people like what you are doing, but, they don’t trust you, because of their past experiences; they can only trust successful people, but, you cannot be successful if anybody don’t trust you with the resources you need. It’s pretty challenging! Believe me, the “need-approach” was a miracle.
- What are the challenges you encounter daily and how do you overcome them?
Seeing cancer patients who need funds for chemotherapy and some who are in the National Hospital looking for small funds to buy some medicine has always been a great challenge. But, you know, I have to be strong to help other people to be strong. Nigerians have been helping and we pray they will help more.
- What current steps are you taking on your project?
We are currently starting up Nigeria’s first cancer navigation programme that will help guide and navigate women through diagnosis to treatment and other support system. The project will reduce help to phase-out late/advanced diagnosis and also empower women with advanced breast cancer. I am sure you will have all the details very soon.
- How do you see the organisation in five years time?
I see an organization that will ask the fundamental questions in cancer control and stimulate cancer research. I see an organization that will change the way Nigerians think about cancer.
- What would you like to say to young minds out there that would want to make an impact but don’t know how?
Sincerely, to make an impact in Nigeria you need to have a clear and crystal understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Your strengths and your weaknesses will help you to define how best to start. Also, you don’t need to have all the skills and prerequisite knowledge, other people like friends and team members can help you strategize where you are lacking. The key requirement is reason, logic and passion. The impact you want to make is it reasonable, is it logical, can people relate with it, if No, be ready to give details, if yes, better. Are you passionate about it? In as much as passion is key, reason and logic strengthens your passion, because, you will always see a reason to continue what you are doing.
Additionally, start small, start-up as a Corps member; in fact NYSC is one of the only free lunch for Nigerian youths. As corps member, you can access any office and can get assistance from anybody. NYSC has an emotion that reminds every Nigerian graduate of his own time as a corper. You can also start from your local community, your church, your mosque and otherwise. Start first and some other ideas will come through volunteering and assisting other people.
- What will you say is your philosophy of life?
Live every second like your last seconds. Second chance is usually unknown.
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