This post will be slightly different from my previous ones. It will not be about traveling or food. Instead, I will be covering an annual event organized by a group of fabulous women in Cyprus!
As many of you likely already know, October is a month dedicated to the breast cancer awareness and research across the globe. There are several events in many countries raising money for different breast cancer foundations and research. During the month, some of the cities literally turn pink to show support to those who are affected by the disease.
Nowadays, there are very few of us, women, who do not have a friend, family member or an acquaintance who has gone through the horror of cancer or is at a certain stage of the treatment. The horror begins with discovering the lump, and lasts all the way through chemotherapy or radiotherapy, to physiotherapies. But be aware, the fear does not stop there. The fear continues during the hormonal treatments and in the years thereafter.
Naturally, cancer patients are not the only ones affected by this terrible disease. Family and friends live through every treatment, every visit to the doctor, every mood change, and every pill. I know, because I lived through this process on a few occasions, and I hope never to go through it again. One never realizes how this affects one’s life, until it happens to your closest ones.
I will not include statistics or reminders about the necessity of regular ultrasound or mammograms, because there is overload of information everywhere, especially in October, and they always come with gloomy numbers and many exclamation marks. But what you will read below is pink and exciting.
Three years ago, I was invited to participate in a 4th annual Bunco for Breast Cancer Event organized by a group of ladies, Divas with Dice of Cyprus. It is a group of women from US, South Africa, Cyprus and some other countries. They all have been living in Cyprus for many years, and they meet to play Bunco monthly. Every month, there is one host, dinner, 7 prizes, and drinks. To make it even more fun, there is a theme connected to the game, for example a 70’s theme or Ancient Egypt.
Bunco is a dice game that originally comes from 19th century England. It was imported to USA in the late 1800s as a gambling activity. Interestingly enough, during the Prohibition, Bunco was re-popularized as gambling game after years of “parlour game”, and law-enforcement groups, or better known as “Bunco squads”, were known to be raiding places where Bunco was being played. Later, in the 1980s, the game turned into a family game.
The game is played by 12 players at a time, and the rules of the game are very simple. There are six rounds, marked from one to six, two teams at the table and three dices to roll. The number of the round stands for the target of the number; players have to target to roll. For example the players have to see “one” on each dice in the first round, then “two” on each dice in the second round, and so forth. The team wins if 21 points are collected or if Bunco is shouted by one of the teammates.
I know it sounds confusing, but it is much simpler game in reality than it sounds.
But let’s come back to the event itself.
The first Bunco for Breast Cancer (BBC) was organized by a lovely lady Diane, in her garden in the back of her house in October five years ago. There were 24 ladies, with lots of small prizes and raffles. It was a success and the following year BBC committee was formed to make the event annual and bigger. The second event already had 36 women, and since then the number of ladies has been steadily growing, reaching 60 in the last month.
A year ago, Bunco for Breast Cancer was renamed Roll for a Cure, because the Committee decided to support a Cypriot breast cancer cause. Since then, all the proceeds are donated to the PASYKAF – the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends, http://pasykaf.org/en.
We meet at noon to register and buy tickets for the raffles. Most importantly, we get to see the prizes and the baskets without waiting till the end of the day. After luncheon, the game begins! The room is full with 60 ladies rolling the dice, trying to get the same numbers, and screaming banco the same time. I can tell you for a fact that it can be very exciting, and very chaotic at the same. But even if the dice stubbornly do not show bunco when it is your turn, the mood in the room is very contagiously positive.
The last part of the day is when the excitement hits the roof. One of the small boxes is turned into a drawing box, and the raffle draws commence, with the gifts ranging from small jewellery gifts and massage invitations to larger themed baskets. This year, I was one of the lucky winners of the baskets – the Coffee Basket with coffees, teas and different kinds of hot chocolates prepared by two of the Committee members, Anna and Avon. Unfortunately, I am not a coffee drinker, so the Other Me enjoyed my winnings, but cans with teas and hot chocolates had open lids the same day.
The Committee still had got most of its original members, to name them: Polly, Anna, Valerie and Brenda, who is now leading the organization. Every year, these ladies spend up to five months on planning, organizing and scheduling details of the upcoming event. These include deciding what will be the theme of each basket and who will prepare them, looking for small donations for the raffle, and selling the tickets. All of this is for the cause that is close to our hearts.
Divas’ efforts in organizing Roll for a Cure have been unstoppable. We gather on one Saturday in October to witness their passion and love for all those who survived the damn cancer, those who still battle it and all those who continue their undying support. And each year, we have fun playing bunco and getting excited during the raffles taking place in a pink decorated room, having our beloved ones in our hearts.
I will see them again for Roll for the Cure, 2016 event.