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Times of India
01 February 2012
Pune India

The fourth edition of Bombay Times Lavasa Women's Drive (LWD) will be flagged off simultaneously from Pune and Mumbai on February 26 and will converge at Lavasa. The LWD is instrumental in spreading awareness about cancer in women.

Pune witnessed its maiden LWD last year. This year, the drive is bigger, better and more enjoyable. To build up the excitement and involve a larger number of women, many new activities, including workshops for women on topics like dance and photography, are planned this year. Exciting contests on Facebook are also on cards.

The focus of the LWD this year is to create awareness about cervical cancer, which is the number one cause of cancer related deaths among Indian women. Each year nearly 132,000 women are diagnosed with this disease and over 74,000 women die of it. It is one of the few cancers that can be prevented with timely vaccination. It can be treated successfully if detected early through regular check-ups or Pap smear test.

A large number of NGOs, women organizations, corporates and individuals also participate in this drive to promote individual causes.

Arunabh Das Sharma, executive president, The Times of India Group, stated: "Woman empowerment is essential for the overall growth of India. At Timesgroup we are committed to support women's causes. The underlying thought behind the Bombay Times Lavasa Women's Drive is in tandem with that commitment. This year we are instituting 'Women in the Driving Seat' awards which will felicitate 10 outstanding women who have driven in the fast lane in their respective fields, setting new standards."

Rajgopal Nogja, group president, HCC, said: "Lavasa Women's Drive is in its fourth year and we are growing from strength to strength. Last year this initiative witnessed enthusiastic participation from 2,000-plus women who were selected via an online voting that witnessed unprecedented 7.5 lakh votes from 84 countries, a record which we intend to beat this year. The drive has always captured multiple aspects - the fun, adventure and spirit of the Indian woman combined with her passion for social cause for prevention of cancer."

Talking about MSD India's support to the drive, K G Ananthakrishnan, managing director, MSD India, said: "We are committed to protect the health of every Indian woman, at every stage of her life. One key area is prevention of cervical cancer which takes the lives of 200 women in India every day. We are proud to partner with The Times of India and the Lavasa Women's Drive to raise awareness about this disease. We hope that, through this drive, we can urge every woman in India to protect herself and prevent this disease via a comprehensive approach of education, screening and vaccination."

Devieka Bhojwani, vice-president, Women's Cancer Initiative, Tata Memorial Hospital, stated: "I am very happy to be a part of the 4th edition of the Lavasa Women's Drive which celebrates the spirit of adventure and fun alongside supporting the cause of cancer. The Women's Cancer Initiative is driven by its desire to make a difference in every woman's life and our association with the Lavasa Women's Drive gives us this opportunity."

Each car needs to have minimum two women participants in the form of driver and navigator. Women with valid driving licence can register on www.lavasawomensdrive.com. Since there is a massive demand from women to participate, there is a referral system in place, wherein all aspirants will have to generate votes for themselves. The aspirants with maximum votes will be chosen for the drive.

The LWD is a joint initiative of Bombay Times and Lavasa Corporation Ltd. MSD is the associate sponsor. Galaxy Care Hospital, Orchid and VITS are the other sponsors. It is supported by the Women's Cancer Initiative Tata Memorial Hospital and conducted by the Western India Automobile Association. This is an initiative of the Times Red Cell.

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