A Ribbon to you is hope for them- Give Hope, Go Gold!

Ribbon To You Hope To Them

September is the gold ribbon month – marked as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The year 2018 marks a 100 years since the birth of our country’s greatest leader, Nelson Mandela. In celebrating his centenary this September, CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA is encouraging all South Africans to continue his legacy of giving hope. “Give Hope, Go Gold” by purchasing the gold satin ribbon which symbolises support for children with cancer, temporary tattoos and other gold merchandise from the online CHOC Store https://www.choc.org.za/shop/ or nearest CHOC offices. The ribbon is to be worn throughout the month of September. This will go a long way in highlighting the disease and give hope to those battling cancer around the world.

CHOC, along with its ambassadors Anga Makubalo, Kenneth Nkosi, Romina Armellini and Phumeza Mdabe will be visiting schools, corporates, radio and television stations around the country to educate the public about childhood cancer and the early warning signs thereof. Join in the fun to paint South Africa gold to give hope to our children.

“Children are our greatest treasure”, Nelson Mandela.

Sadly, according to Childhood Cancer International,  childhood cancer continues to be the leading cause of non-communicable related death in children throughout the world. Globally, more than 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year with about 1,000 new cases in South Africa alone. This means that this year , globally, 300,000 parents across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economic conditions will be hearing the words “your child has cancer”.

Many childhood cancers have high survival rates when diagnosed early. Unfortunately, in South Africa childhood cancers are sometimes picked-up very late or misdiagnosed, meaning that the survival and recovery rate in South Africa is much lower than in developed countries.

Nompilo Jalubane, is a 24 year old mother from Kwa-Zulu Natal who went back and forth to healthcare facilities with her then five year old daughter Mbalenhle. “I did not know children could get cancer. When her left eye got swollen in June 2016, I took her to the clinic every month, but was always given Panado until I argued with the nurses that the Panado was not changing her condition. They told me they knew what they were doing, but I insisted on seeing someone senior who assisted me with a referral letter to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, where it was found that she had eye cancer, and her eye was so badly damaged it had to be removed. Her brain was also damaged and she was admitted to  ICU having difficulty in breathing, “ shares Nompilo.

The encouraging news is that childhood cancer is mostly curable with the overall survival rate reaching between 70% and 80% in developed countries, whereas in South Africa the rate of recorded cases  is only at about 55% – mainly due to lack of awareness and late diagnosis. Early diagnosis is critical and can only be achieved through creating awareness about childhood cancer not only to parents but also communities and health care systems, which is why CHOC has an extensive and national awareness programme

The early warning signs of childhood cancer are on our website and also in leaflets available from CHOC. CHOC’s Awareness Programme trains healthcare workers, traditional healers, and communities in detecting these vital early warning signs.   To date CHOC has trained 22,041 people since the CHOC awareness training and education programme started in 2011.

Support Childhood Cancer Month – ‘Give Hope, Go gold’ so the future of South Africa our precious children is not to be compromised. For more information about CHOC, join the CHOC Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/CHOC-Childhood-Cancer-Foundation-SA/1519454698270658

Psychosocial Team have a huge Impact

No Parent is ready to hear, “Your child has cancer”.  It is one of the single most overwhelming experiences one can possibly face.  You feel completely alone and lost. The CHOC Psychosocial Team helps make the journey more bearable and less frightening.

The CHOC Psychosocial Team is reaching new heights! A year and a half ago CHOC had social workers/counsellors in five paediatric oncology units. At the end of last year the team increased to seven social workers/counsellors and two social auxiliary workers providing services to nine paediatric oncology units in five regions!

The value of the CHOC psychosocial services lies in the team functioning “on the floor” creating the opportunity for supportive relationships to be formed from the time of diagnosis through the treatment process and thereafter, whether it means a cure or end-of-life and bereavement support.

Two years ago, the CHOC psychosocial team had around 9,000 contacts in a year with the children, teens and their families. Contacts include, assisting the medical team in the breaking of bad news, orientating patients and their families in the treatment unit, ongoing counselling, preparing children and parents for medical treatment procedures, end-of-life care and bereavement support – or any services provided directly to children and family members by the psychosocial team. In the last year this number has increased to as an estimated 17,000; with the number of beneficiaries receiving psychosocial support nearly doubling!

CHOC has now received new requests for psychosocial support services at  three other paediatric oncology units: Dr. George Mukhari Academic Hospital (north of Pretoria), Polokwane Provincial Hospital; and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (in Cape Town).  This is over and above the nine we are currently servicing.

We are extremely pleased to see the growth an expansion of the psychosocial programme because we know the significant difference it makes to the children, teens parents and family members. We are humbled that we can  touch the lives of almost every child with cancer and their family treated in these units!

First of its kind in Africa!

Childhood Cancer International

As part of our CCI (Childhood Cancer International) Africa Anchor role, CHOC is proud to have hosted and co-sponsored the first of its kind, CCI Africa Regional Workshop. Leaders from nine different African countries (South Africa, Ethiopia, Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana, Uganda, Egypt, and Zimbabwe) came together to further strengthen CCI and the cause of childhood cancer in Africa, develop strategic priorities  for CCI Africa, form a CCI Africa Regional Committee, set up mechanisms for sharing knowledge and experiences between groups and identify and leverage growth opportunities for CCI members in Africa.

With the lack of awareness, poor diagnosis, a severe shortage of treatment and drugs, childhood cancer is a huge problem in Africa. Many children and teens suffer and die needlessly. It is vital that we  form a group of committed people from a range of organisations who will work together as a CCI Africa, and network with other entities addressing this issue (the medical fraternity, government, pharmaceutical and other companies, and civil society),“ says Carl Queiros the CHOC CEO, and newly elected Chairman of the CCI Africa Regional Committee.

The workshop took place in May, 2018, in Johannesburg and  was co-sponsored by CHOC and the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO). CCI Africa represents 27 countries in Africa  – members in 24 countries and partner organisations in three other countries. The CCI Africa Regional Committee  includes Daniel McKenzie of Kidzcan Children Cancer Relief Organisation, Zimbabwe as the vice chair, Brian Walusimbi  of Bless a Child Foundation, Uganda;  Prof Yasser Sadek of the Alexandria Group of Childhood Cancer Care, Egypt; Dr Ihesinachi Kalagbor of Simara Children Cancer Foundation, Nigeria; Dr John Ahenkorah of Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancer, and Sidney Chahonyo of Hope for Cancer Kids, Kenya.

In addition, three task teams were also formed around  of Advocacy and Awareness; Supportive and Palliative Care; and Business Development (fundraising).

For more information about CCI and our Africa members , please visit the CCI website www.childhoodcancerinternational.org  (go to the Africa Region under Global Network)

CHOC Top Charity at Comrades!

CHOC was one of the official race charities for Comrades Marathon 2018 and the overwhelming support exceeded all expectations for our iconic charity as we raised nearly R1.6 million for childhood cancer!

This year 260 runners took on the ultimate human race in the traditional black and white colours and cow print of The CHOC Cows, and the amount of money that the runners raised was overwhelming. Apart from the funds raised, the impact the event made for our charity and the cause of fighting childhood cancer was incredible.

Capetonian Axel Rittershaus, the highest-fund-raising CHOC Cow raised a phenomenal R79 943,83! For raising the most money, Axel was awarded a framed Cow for his incredible efforts when he collected his special race pack at the registration.

Thank you!

We could not have achieved any of this without our wonderful runners and their supportive families and friends, our amazing and super-enthusiastic volunteers who assisted at the Expo as well as at the two support stations on race day, and especially without the support and hard work of Cow Committee members and CHOC staff.

A huge thank you to the Comrades Committee for giving CHOC the opportunity of a lifetime. See you in 2019!

Brand New CHOC Homes

CHOC proudly has thirteen accommodation facilities across the country. Our two latest additions are pictured above. On the left is the new CHOC House in Sybrand Park, Cape Town; and on the right the new CHOC House in Centurion. In Cape Town, CHOC had a house in Bergvliet (as well as in Plumbstead and at Tygerberg Hospital). However, as we needed larger office space for the CHOC Western Cape office, and as we needed a property closer to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital, we sold in Bergvliet and bought a house in Sybrand Park (which is within walking distance from Red Cross). The house was officially opened by our Chairman, Nagm Azar and the Regional Manager of the Western Cape and Namakwa, Lynette Muthuray, at a House Warming Ceremony, on the 12th of July 2018.


CHOC House Pretoria provided 8 beds and 2,386 bed nights in 2017 for children, teens and care givers. Due to the significant increase in demand for accommodation, the 3 bedroom CHOC house in Pretoria became very limited and a bigger house was urgently required. Though the sale of our previous property and  the generous support of Clover Nutrikids, we are currently in the process of relocating to a new premises that will offer a lot more space to accommodate our beneficiaries, as well a larger office and storage space. The new premises is a 6 bedroom house situated in Lyttelton Manor (Centurion) – very close to Unitas Hospital . Most of  the children and parents that stay with us are treated at Unitas, and a significant portion also come from Steve Biko Hospital (Pretoria). The official house opening will be done by CHOC and Clover South Africa at the end of September. A big thank you to Clover for all of your support – not just for this house, but for the many you have assisted us purchasing over the years!!!

Volunteer Time and Donations Go a Long Way!

“It is the difference we make in the life of others that will determine the significance of the life we leadNelson Mandela.

As part of celebrating Nelson Mandela’s  centenary year, CHOC encouraged all South Africans to continue his legacy of giving and service, by participating in a campaign focused on CHOC accommodation across the country. Highlights of the day included:

  • The Kganya Investment group visiting our National Office with CHOC care bags filled with toiletries, colouring books and a message of hope for our patients.
  • The Mayor of Buffalo City Municipality, Councillor Pakati, and his team visiting the CHOC House in East London with gifts for each patient.
  • In the Western Cape,  Meadowfeeds sending their repair and maintenance team to the CHOC Lodge Tygerberg and CHOC House Plumstead. In addition, Smith Tabatha and Buchanan Boyes sent their repair and  maintenance partner to the Plumstead CHOC House.
  • Meadowfeeds converted the unused pool into a Remembrance Garden at our house in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal.

To mention only some of the many blessings and activities that took place on this day. We thank all those who participated in giving items on the wish list, their time and generosity!