Gloves and roses

Despite not getting the correct treatment for her breast cancer, Anel Bezuidenhout is on a mission to help as many other triple-positive breast cancer patients in a similar position.

Anel Bezuidenhout (51) lives in Stilbaai, Western Cape with her husband, Stefan. 

During hard lockdown in 2020, Anel’s employment contract came to an end. Unfortunately, this put pressure on her as she was already the breadwinner since 2017 when her husband became ill. When she felt a lump in her breast, she became even more stressed as their medical aid had lapsed. She went to her local GP who did a sonar and histology then referred her to a state hospital as a matter of urgency. 

Anel was diagnosed with Stage 3 triple-positive breast cancer in June 2021. Her treatment included chemotherapy, radiation, a mastectomy and lymph node removal, and tamoxifen for 15 years. Due to the type of breast cancer Anel has, trastuzumab treatment is needed. However, due to her being treated in a Western Cape state hospital, this was not an option as they regard it as an unfunded mandate. In other state hospitals across SA, trastuzumab is only prescribed if you fit certain criteria. 

BackaBuddy campaign

One of Anel’s friends started a BackaBuddy fund for her. “This was initially to help with day-to-day survival, travelling to George for treatment, following a special diet, and rent. I can’t thank our community, family and friends enough for all their support. With the grace of God and their help, it was possible for us to keep going.”

When Anel found out that she wouldn’t be getting trastuzumab, she set out on a mission to get it for herself. Along with the help of the BackaBuddy campaign, she raised money for four treatments to receive with chemotherapy. “Unfortunately, I could not get permission as a state patient to receive it at the hospital, due to legislation. I enquired at a private centre but I couldn’t afford their private fee,” Anel explains.

“A friend suggested to get in touch with a legal entity to fight for my right to get treatment. But, the legal route can be a lengthy process and I realised that I can’t waste my energy from a negative point of view. Plus, there are many patients in the same position as I am.”

Painting turns into purpose

Anel took up painting during lockdown to add to her income and since then it has led to paid commissions. One commission brought her into contact with Adolf Stolzle from MegaTrans. “A friend of Adolf’s ordered a commissioned painting for him as a surprise birthday gift during 2020. I later did an Argosy truck as a commission for Adolf for his office in 2021. He then touched base, early in 2022, telling me of his idea to wrap a pink Fight like a girl truck to create awareness for women facing breast cancer.”

Hearing this stirred passionate purpose in Anel and with the help of a few innovative brains, Anel started her own campaign, Fight like Anel, with the website as the driving force behind the campaign. 

“The new campaign is centred on raising funds for trastuzumab for myself and other women in the same position as I am. We have already identified two other breast cancer patients Tembi and Karen.”

Anel and Adolf merged their ideas and Adolf’s pink truck is ready to been seen on the roads and has the Gloves and Roses website on it. “We hope that this will create awareness and people will spot the truck and see what our campaign is about and donate funds.”

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