Awareness is key

Annual events around cancer awareness this time of each year can serve as a barometer that we can use to gauge the level of community support for all our initiatives.

I am encouraged by the growing level of support of all cancer related initiatives and projects and the commitment shown by people from all our communities, including our corporate sponsors who continue to believe in our work within various communities through a number of projects.

Such initiatives and events are incredible vehicles that we use to create the awareness needed to ensure that members of our communities are empowered with relevant and critical information regarding early detection and timeous treatment.

One of the key strategies is to not only create the awareness around cancer, but also to grow the army of supporters and volunteers who will take the message to their respective communities and make a difference in helping others to detect early signs of the different cancers and how people can access treatment and ultimately survive cancer.

Such awareness creation initiatives make a huge difference in the lives of many people afflicted by the disease in our country. What is critical to surviving cancer is early detection of the signs of the disease and accessing relevant treatment as early as possible.

We continue to welcome new volunteers and supporters of all our initiatives, thus ensuring that our army of volunteers and counsellors continue to grow and the awareness and early detection educational messages are carried to all corners of South Africa. We will continue to take the message of awareness and early detection to communities, who must hear survival stories from people who even share the same cultural, economic and social backgrounds.

Such engagement with communities makes it easier for people across South Africa to feel more comfortable with looking for signs of, and talking about, cancer.

I was particularly touched by the massive and incredible support the Ithemba Walkathon received during this year’s event, which took place at Marks Park on 26 October 2014, where we saw families and friends taking part in the event. This also facilitated de-stigmatisation of the disease within communities.

Also, as part of the awareness campaign, the annual ten-day motorcycle ride flagship event is an annual Cancervive event which this year took us through Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Free State and I was very fortunate and privileged to have been part of this memorable event.

For ten days, from 25 September – 4 October this year, 60 survivors, supporters and entertainers as well as a media contingency travelled a total distance of just over 2500km as part of our Awareness campaign and taking a message of hope and inspiration to over 10 000 people.

We thank all those survivors and supporters and the media who made the time to be part of this memorable event and look forward to the 2015 ride.

Cancer survivors are indeed living proof that recognising the symptoms timeously and knowing what to look for and receiving the appropriate treatment in good time can deliver positive results.

Connecting with communities to inspire and educate people of every age and emphasising the importance of early detection, is an important part of our entire awareness campaign where we tell people living with cancer that they are not alone.

We have seen many warriors who have battled with this disease for many years and we remember our buddie Nelly Ndwambi who has since passed on. May her Soul rest in peace, she fought a good fight.

Buddies let’s keep on fighting !

Your Buddy For Life

Lillian Dube

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