The Belgian Foundation against Cancer announced on Tuesday that it had given Belgium’s Mannekin Pis its 1,042nd costume on the occasion of World Cancer Day.
Brussels’ Oldest Citizen, as the world-famous statue is familiarly known, thus symbolises one of the 350,000 people who have fought and overcome cancer over the past 10 years. Dressed as a patient fighting cancer, in a hospital gown and carrying a drip, the statue is meant to serve as a reminder that anyone can be faced with cancer, but also to stress that people’s chances of surviving the disease are increasing a little more each day.
Close to 9.5 million people still die from cancer each year throughout the world, and millions of others are affected by the illness. In Belgium, the annual death toll from cancer is 29,000, and 68,000 new diagnoses are made each year.
“The struggle continues, but the fastest cancer to cure is the one that can be prevented,” said Cancer Foundation spokesperson Dr. Anne Boucquiau, “so we’re calling on all governments to make the fight against cancer a priority.”
The Cancer Foundation is pursuing its work in scientific research, prevention, and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.