When 15 management trainees, fresh out of college, at HSBC Insurance were asked by their bosses to put their heads together and find a way of raising HK$1million for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, their initial reactions were mixed. Some were enthusiastic. Some asked 'Why don't we just give money? Why don't we just donate HK$1million instead?' Others said bluntly: 'I was hired to do business, not corporate social responsibility.' As they worked together on the project, however, attitudes quickly changed. They became increasingly engrossed in the challenge and came up with the idea of having a Halloween parade to raise money for a Cancer Patient Resource Centre at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital. The novel event called 'We Walk Coz We Care' drew more than 1,000 participants, won support from scores of other businesses and comfortably hit the HK$1million target. It was an event that had huge benefits for the Hong Kong Cancer Fund and for the management trainees who masterminded it. 'They found it a very positive experience,' said David Fried, HSBC's regional head of insurance for Asia-Pacific. 'It helped them team with people from different businesses and departments, and earned them the experience to interact with customers and different business partners. They then realised why they had to raise funds instead of just getting the money.' Rather than just quietly fulfilling a corporate responsibility obligation, the Halloween Parade enabled the management trainees to create a colourful event that involved the city and drew attention to fund raising that cancer care requires and may become an annual event. The parade is exactly the kind of initiative that the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, in its 20th anniversary year, has been keen to embrace as it constantly looks for new ways to draw support from the corporate sector for its vital work. The parade this year took its place alongside a range of established annual events to raise money for the fund, such as the Pink Revolution held in October each year to raise awareness and funds towards the prevention of breast cancer. One of the biggest supporters of the Pink Revolution is Pacific Coffee which since 2002 has put donation boxes in all its branches throughout October each year. A spokeswoman said: 'We raised about HK$190,000 last year for Pink Revolution and another HK$50,000 for the Queen Mary Hospital's Department of Clinical Oncology via the cancer fund.' Another major annual event is the 'Stride for a Cure' walkathon held every November with the aim of raising HK$2.5million for targeted local cancer research projects. Two to three critical research projects are chosen for the event each year. Key supporters of the 'Stride for a Cure' event are the Rotary Club Kowloon North, HSBC Insurance and Manulife. Manulife has sponsored the event since 1997, donating a total of HK$850,000 and sending a team of Manulife staff and family members to join in the event. 'We like to lend our support to this meaningful drive,' a Manulife spokeswoman said. The fund involves Hong Kong businesses on a regular basis through its Circle of Friends programme where individuals and companies make monthly donations supporting a range of information services on cancer and outreach programmes for cancer sufferers and their families. The fund's spokeswoman Rochelle Couch said: 'These monthly donations are the bread and butter to sustain our free services, providing us with assured income to plan our yearly expenditure.' Companies with new products or brands to promote can also team up with the Hong Kong Cancer Fund as a partner, usually donating part of the proceeds of goods or services sold to the public, or selecting the fund as a beneficiary for a special event. Business and corporations can lend invaluable support to the fund by supporting large-scale education campaigns aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of different cancers, and to promote early detection and screening for conditions such as cervical, colorectal, breast and skin cancers. The involvement of corporations in supporting the Hong Kong Cancer Fund helps the fund realise one of its central aims: that no one faces cancer alone. Businesses interested in working with the Hong Kong Cancer Fund should contact Kennie Cheung, marketing director, on 36676380 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit www.cancer-fund.org for more information about the fund's work.