Message from Regional Manager Agie Govender

It’s difficult to keep NGO’s afloat at the best of times and this financial year was no exception. CHOC receives no subsidy from the government. We therefore have to rely on corporates, schools , trusts and individuals  to donate to CHOC, host and attend events.  I want to thank every volunteer, individual, school, trust and every company who supported us during this past financial year.Your support has helped us make a huge difference.

Our quest is to keep more than hope alive at the worst possible time in the lives of children diagnosed with cancer and their families, and we can only do this because of your support to CHOC.

A huge shout to my team who multi task in every aspect of their work in order to try and reach our target. The KZN region understands that together we are making a difference.

Tough journey to diagnosis for young Mbalenhle Jalubane

It is very easy to underestimate the journey taken by a  parent to get the correct diagnosis for their  sick child. Nompilo Jalubane is proof of the many struggles faced by parents  as her 5 year old daughter Mbalenhle was diagnosed with cancer.

“I did not know a child could have cancer. When her left eye got swollen in June 2016, I took her to the clinic every month, but they always gave her Panado until I argued with the nurses that  this Panado was not working. But they told me they knew what they were doing. In October I was referred  to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital where it was found that she had eye cancer, and her eye was so badly damaged it had to be removed. At the time she was also told that the brain was affected and Mbalenhle had to go into ICU because she was also having difficulties breathing”.

After Mbalenhle’s eye was removed Nompilo also had the burden of explaining to her child why she looked different from other children. Nompilo realised the stigma Mbalenhle will face with one eye, so she decided she will normalize Mbalenhle’s condition to grow up being comfortable with herself. This is an important phase of treatment that parents have to go through with their children. The reintegration of a child into the schooling system with an eye, or any part of their body for that matter, removed. This is especially sad and unbearable for a parent.

When Nompilo arrived at CHOC she confided she was the only person working in her household and with Mbalenhle being sick, she had to make a decision to quit her job in order to be able to be with her daughter every step of the way.  CHOC assisted Nompilo and Mbalenhle with free accommodation and  food. Because CHOC is on the hospital grounds, transport and travelling costs for Nompilo was reduced significantly.   Many parents going through a similar journey stayed with Nompilo at the CHOC Lodge and they were able to support Nompilo through this journey with guidance and assistance from the CHOC social worker.

CHOC continues to raise awareness of childhood cancers, hence the launch of Vuka Khuluma. The Vuka Khuluma Campaign launched in 2017 to increase the knowledge on the early warning signs of a child with cancer in communities and health structures.The main purpose  is to ensure children with cancer and life threatening blood disorders are diagnosed early to improve  survival.

In 2018, Mbalenhle continues with outpatient treatment and is hopeful of  Nompilo’s recovery. Nompilo admits this has been the toughest journey she has had to face thus far, but she is very thankful they eventually got to a treatment center.

Well done to all the Comrades 2018 Runners, Persistence pays!

CHOC is so grateful to have ambassadors and parents of children with cancer who connect us to fundraising opportunities. One such person is Carol Sacke from KZN. As soon as we were informed of the closing date the CHOC team got together and sent in our application for consideration as charity of choice. There was great celebration when in CHOC was chosen as a charity of choice in this prestigious event that draws runners from all over the world for the next five years?.

It was with great excitement that we planned for Comrades 2018.  #Asijiki no turning back became our motto as well . The runners visiting the exhibitions were so obliging in supporting our cause at both Comrades House in Pietermaritzburg and at the Durban Exhibition Centre in Durban. To ensure the actual day was a success we invited eager volunteers to be part of our team. Chas Everitt in KZN partnered with us and we’re so grateful to them for taking care of the CHOC Team and volunteers. From all the feedback we received it was an amazing day and we thank the Comrades Committee for giving CHOC the opportunity of a lifetime. See you in 2019.

The impact of donation support to the survival of children with cancer

Several aspects impact on the survival of a child diagnosed with cancer. When children eventually get to a provincial hospital in KwaZulu Natal the unfortunate financial situation such as the lack of money to access public transport and the lack of proper nutrition is a stark reality.

Our social worker, recently observed once children have been discharged and sent home with their medication to recover,  they return to the hospital for their follow up appointments thinner and more sick. After clinically observing this situation and with some discussion, it became obvious that the children being hospitalised for long periods offered them set meals and proper diets. More often than not they have no food on arrival at home and thereafter it is a scramble for survival, especially if the family has no additional support in  the form of a grant or family members.  Nutritious food  taken with their medication helps the child to recover. After some thought and team discussions CHOC KZN made an appeal for food packs which was costed at R200 per bag and the response from the public was overwhelming. In the last three months we have been able to:

  • Give 71 food Hampers to families that had been discharged to go home
  • Support 185 trips home and back for treatment at a cost R15084.
  • As well as contribute R8500 for bereavement costs to 17 families that have lost their children.

A child  diagnosed with cancer is unbearable without your help.

CHOC KZN volunteers help in Keeping More than Hope Alive

The purpose of life is not to only be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

CHOC volunteers are proof that it is the small things we do together, for each other that matters. What would we be without our volunteers? They help us raise funds, create awareness in communities, interact with the children in the ward and spend time with the parents in the CHOC House and Lodge. These ladies and men who show love, compassion and commitment, they are our true ambassadors.

Here are just a few pictures of what the volunteers have been up to in the past 3 months in the ward.

Interested in being a CHOC volunteer? Here’s how.

Do you have some  free time or know someone that does? Do you have a skill that you could use and share with mothers or their children? Would it give you joy  to be allowed the opportunity to have an impact in the life of a child with cancer or a life threatening blood disorder?

Here are 5 easy steps how….

  1. Email Ntobeko on zama@choc.org.za and she will send you an application form.
  2. Fill in the form and return the form to Ntobeko.
  3. Attend the compulsory volunteer introductory meeting
  4. Choose the type of volunteering that will work best for your schedule.
  5. Inform Ntobeko of your decision…and you are a CHOC volunteer J

“Doing good to others is not a duty it is a joy, for it increases your own health and happiness.”

Childhood cancer myths and stigmas

Childhood Cancer Myths and Stigmas

  • Cancer is contagious
  • You can get cancer by playing or touching a cancer patient
  • Children cannot get cancer
  • Children do not get cancer because of their race and gender.
  • Childhood cancer is the fault of the child or parents.
  • There is no need for the elders to talk about cancer in the family
  • Decisions of transfusions or amputations should only be taken by the elders
  • There are no signs and symptoms with childhood cancer
  • Children do not survive cancer
  • There is nothing that can be done once a child is diagnosed
  • Certain families do not have the right to health care

Reality

  • Cancer is NOT contagious
  • You cannot get cancer by playing or touching a cancer patient
  • Children can get cancer
  • Children can be diagnosed with cancer, irrespective of race or gender.
  • Childhood cancer is a blood disorder and no one is at fault for this illness.
  • There is a need for the elders to talk about cancer in the family
  • Decisions of transfusions or amputations should be taken in consultation with elders in the best interest of the child’s survival.
  • There are early warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancer
  • Children can survive cancer if diagnosed early.
  • Early diagnosis is the key to survival.
  • All have a right to health care

From the Western Cape Regional Managers Desk

CHOC WC Region had a very busy first six months of the year 2018. We achieved an amazing milestone through the relocation of a  CHOC House from BergvliettoSybrand Park which is closer to  two of the main Treatment Centres. The Region’s been continuing in providing it’s home away from home accommodation to families   which  brings great relief to them. The Plumstead CHOC House continues in receiving referrals from Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Rondebosch Medical Centre Private Hospital , Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital while the CHOC Lodge Tygerberg continues in receiving referrals from Tygerberg Hospital. The newly obtained Sybrand Park CHOC House started admitting families as from 05 May 2018 and also receives referrals from Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Groote Schuur.

The Region as from January 2018 to May 2018, assisted a total of 478 adults and 422 children with transportation funds to the value of R68 661 to ensure they do not abandon treatment.. The Region continued to provide care bags to newly diagnosed children being admitted into the wards.  The Region’s morning tea  still takes place during the outpatient clinics at both Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Tygerberg Hospitaltwice per week. This is made possible through the commitment of dedicated Hospital Volunteers. They play a critical role during the implementation of our Practical Support Programme in the  treatment centre and we truly appreciate them and the work they do.

We  proudly partnered with the Department of Health’s Health Promoters through providing Early Warning Signs Training to traiditional leaders  in Khayaletisha to promote early diagnosis. CHOC Western Cape & Namaqwa Region would not be able to render its services without the support of all our Donors, Funders, Corporates, Philanthropy Organisations and the CHOC Cows. We Thank you all for helping us in keepimg more tha hope alive.

LACE UP FOR CANCER FUN WALK 2018

The Cancer Alliance in the Western Cape once again hosted a very successful Lace Up For Cancer Fun Walk. This took place on World Cancer Day, Sunday the 04th February 2018 at the Castle of Good Hope and thousands were in attendance. ‘’Lace up for Cancer’’ is an annual event in Cape Town which gives members of the public an opportunity to dress up, have a fun five km walk  in memory of friends and family members suffering from cancer or whom lost their battle to cancer.

The Cancer Alliance comprises of six worthy causes that all work in the field of cancer. These are CANSA SA, Hospice Palliative Care Association, Sunflower Fund, CHOC, LOVE YOUR NUTS and People Living with Cancer. According to the official World CancerDay website, www.worldcancerday.org, “World Cancer Day should be viewed as an opportunity to coordinate global, national and local efforts in the fight against cancer” Cancer touches  everyone in different ways, we all  have the power to take action to reduce the daunting impact that cancer has on individuals, families and communities. World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on, what you can do by making a pledge and taking action. Whatever you choose to do ‘We can. I can.’ make a difference to the fight against cancer.

INTERNATIONAL CHILDHOOD CANCER DAY

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA once again called  on all South Africans to “Have a Heart for Children with Cancer” on 15 February 2018. International Childhood Cancer Day (ICC) is a global collaborative initiative to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to express support for children with cancer, survivors and their families.

In developed countries, childhood cancer has become largely curable with the overall survival rate reaching between 70% and 80% whereas in South Africa the rate is approximately 55%. CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA aims to improve this rate by creating awareness of the early warning signs of childhood cancer.   Early detection of childhood cancer affords early diagnosis enabling a better chance of being cured and an increase in the survival rate.

In support of ICCD, CHOC  called  on schools, corporates and community groups to join our CHOC Celebrities and CHOC Ambassadors such Phumeza Mdabe, Jessica Nkosi, Romina Armellini, Anga Makubalo, Maurice Paige and Kenneth Nkosi to wear blue with the ICCD badge or heart pin on 15 February. In addition to wearing blue, members of the public could buy a loved one a delicious heart-shaped chocolate or a trendy “have a heart for children with cancer badge” or heart pin for Valentine’s Day.

CHOC Western Cape Region once again received wonderful support during the run up to and on International Childhood Cancer Day.We would like to thank all schools, religious institutions, companies and members of the public for the great support and for helping CHOC in keeping more than hope alive.