PLATINUM LIFE’S ROLE AS A FOUNDATIONAL DONOR FOR CHOC

Platinum Life, as a foundational donor, has played a critical role in supporting the lives of children and teenagers throughout their challenging journeys being diagnosed with cancer or life-threatening blood disorders. Their contributions to CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa have made a significant impact, reaching thousands of patients and families.

A Message from CHOC’s CEO

“This year as CHOC turns 45, we would like to, on behalf of the patients and their families, extend our heartfelt gratitude to every client of Platinum Life who contributes to CHOC through this remarkable partnership,” said Hedley Lewis, CEO of CHOC. “Your generosity makes a profound difference in the lives of those facing these immense challenges.”

CHOC’S SUPPORT PROGRAMMES

Our comprehensive support programmes, including psychological counselling, home-away-from-home accommodation facilities, nutritional support, and transportation assistance, have provided essential aid to those in need. Through their contributions, they have enabled CHOC to continue offering our comprehensive Support Programmes which encompass a range of essential services to our beneficiaries.

Psychosocial and Emotional Support

We understand that the emotional impact of cancer is immense. Our social workers walk alongside families from diagnosis through treatment, and even during the difficult moments of bereavement. We provide emotional support, ensuring that families feel heard and understood.

Practical Support

Our practical support extends beyond medical care. When a child is newly diagnosed, our social workers ensure they receive a Carebag filled with practical items. We also provide transportation assistance, ensuring regular treatment visits, whilst accommodation in our 13 facilities across the country offers a home-away-from-home for families during treatment.

Financial Bereavement Support

Families who have lost a child receive financial assistance during their grieving process. We recognize the immense challenges they face and aim to alleviate some of the burdens.

Post-Treatment Support

Survivors and their families cope with long-term effects after treatment. Our team assists with reintegration into society, helping them navigate life beyond cancer.

Advocacy and Awareness

CHOC advocates for childhood cancer causes both nationally and internationally. Our SILUAN Early Warning Signs awareness programme aims to increase early detection and diagnoses, ultimately improving survival rates. As an organisation, we strive to influence decision-makers to ensure comprehensive and adequate care for all children and teens with cancer or life-threatening blood disorders. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by these challenging conditions.

PLATINUM LIFE’S SUPPORT FOR CHOC

Platinum Life supports CHOC by donating a percentage of each premium collected on their cancer policies to the organisation monthly. One of the beneficiaries is Xichavo Mhanganiand this is his story:

XICHAVO MHANGANI’S STORY

My name is Xichavo Mhangani. I am a 19-year-old grade twelve student, as well as the head of a child-headed household. My mother passed away in 2018, when I was sixteen years old. A huge responsibility fell on my shoulders, I needed to take care of my two younger siblings, my nine-year-old brother and my twelve-year-old sister.

Diagnosis

In 2020 I went to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital’s hematology department to find out why I was not feeling well. After numerous tests and biopsies, the results showed that I have Osteosarcoma, also known as bone cancer. The day I was diagnosed I cried, but there was no one to comfort me. The diagnosis came as a shock to me. I felt so scared and totally alone. My uncle who lives in Venda wanted to take my two siblings to go live with my granny, but I refused because I want them to be with me—they are all I have. I believe myself to be an independent older brother, who can take care of them.

During my first year of treatment, when I was at my sickest, my sister took care of me and for that I want to thank her and tell her that I really love her. My school was wonderful and supportive and understood that I could not attend for the first six months of my treatment. I am now in Grade 12. Even though the treatments take a toll on me, I need to stay at home for at least a week after each treatment, I’m trying my best and I am working really hard to get distinctions in my subjects, to be able to study further.

Finding a Home at CHOC

When I started my treatment, I was told that I could stay in the CHOC house in Diepkloof. I was hesitant because it was extremely difficult to leave my brother and sister in the care of my neighbors but due to financial constraints I had no other choice. It was the best decision I ever made. Slowly but surely, I started to come to terms with my cancer diagnosis. The other children in the house became like a family to me. I could relate to them because they were going through the same journey as I was. The CHOC staff, especially Zotha, the house supervisor, and the social workers took me under their wing and took care of me, supporting me and looking after me as if I were their own child, and for that I want to thank them.

Future Aspirations

I am eternally grateful to CHOC’s social worker Lawrence, who ensured that I have all I need regarding transport money, food parcels for my siblings, emotional support when I needed it, and even a gift or two for special days. He walks an extra mile for me. I also want to thank all the doctors and nursing staff that are taking such good care of me. When I came to CHOC, I could not believe what a wonderful place it is. I want to say thank you to all CHOC’s donors. It is because of them that CHOC is able to help so many children and families. My siblings and I are an example of this. My dream is to become a chartered accountant, to be able to provide for my siblings to the best of my ability. I want my sister and little brother to be successful in life.

I’m grateful to everyone who is making this difficult journey so much easier. With the excellent care and support of the whole CHOC team, I feel so much better and I have hopes and a dream for a bright future.

Candice Weber

In 1995 at the age of 4 I knew I wanted to be an actress. I would sing and dance through the hallways of our house in Witbank and I probably drove my parents crazy. In May 1995 my sister, Nicole, was born and I was delighted to have a bubbly new friend. I slowly started getting ill that year with terrible stomach pain and my parents took me to every local doctor only to come home with no true cause of the problem. On my fifth birthday in October that year I was still too ill to play with my friends and celebrate with my family and at that point, my aunt recommended that I should go to a paediatrician in Johannesburg. Blood tests and sonars were done and my parents received a call that soon changed their life.

I had a tumour the size of 12cm x 4cm growing out of my right adrenal gland and was diagnosed by Professor Richard Cohn with stage 3 Neuroblastoma. My parents were shocked. They just found out that their eldest had a life threatening disease with only a 10% chance of survival and had a 6 month old baby to take care of too.

I remember a long time of having no hair, feeling very weak and being tired of having to take “another” needle, “another” drip, “another” round of a word called “chemo” and watching “Lion King” for the millionth time but looking back, I don’t remember the pain or the hurt at all. That is one of the biggest blessings for me and something I admire about children. To me I was just feeling quite sick for a very long time, but it never once crossed my mind that I was actually busy dying. I now understand the saying: ‘have faith like a child’.

Ward 294 at the (then) Johannesburg General Hospital became our home for the next two years. The doctors and staff members were remarkable to say the least. I remember the loving presence of Sister Sadie, Dr. Bernard, Dr. Rosie and the exceptional nursing staff working around the clock to help us get through this. My treatment started with extensive chemo therapy for 3 months to reduce the tumour at 3 week intervals. During this time my family and I stayed in different hospitals for 3 nights to get treated then went back home for 21 days. During this time, I also received a lumber puncture to determine if the tumour had infiltrated my bone marrow but by the grace of God, it did not.

After the tumour had shrunk to a more manageable size, the Paediatric Oncology Physician Specialist, Prof Peter Beale successfully removed the tumour after hours of surgery. He had said to my father that it was a miracle that I made it and I had lost so much blood that an emergency helicopter had to bring blood to the hospital for me. I remember waking up from this operation feeling incredibly weak but being surrounded by love when my eyes opened. My parents were so hopeful and thought that my battle was over, but it wasn’t. After my operation, Professor Cohn decided that the next best step would be a bone-marrow transplant. My bone-marrow was extracted and sent through to Cape Town to be used again after my next treatments were finished. For an entire week I was without  bone marrow and received aggressive chemo therapy in the hope of killing off any remaining cancer cells. I don’t remember much from this time other than feeling very cold and not being able to stomach food.

After my bone-marrow was re-introduced, I stayed in isolation in the hospital for 8 weeks. This was the darkest time. I remember playing with ‘My Little Pony’ dolls with a girl next door who’s complexion was a light purple and whose beautiful full lips were dried and cracked. Soon after I went back to my room to eat something my mom had made, I remember trying to take a bite out of a soft cold mielie (corn on the cob) and saw blood everywhere because my teeth and gums had become so weak. Straight after this, I heard a scream from next door that I somehow knew was a mother’s cry. My friend next door had just passed away. This was not the only brave mother who lost her child. I was the only one in that time of isolation to have survived.

Once my blood counts and platelets were acceptable, my parents took me home and I isolated for a few more months. l continued going for regular blood tests and check ups for years to come and by the grace of God, through the incredible specialists, the relentless love from my family, the staff, CHOC, Reach for a Dream and above all prayers, I made it and am 24 years clean. I am an actress and I truly believe that if you are alive, you still have a purpose.

I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for my parents and loved ones, but I never once felt unsafe or unloved and it’s because of this that I want to help encourage any child or parent going through the same that they are not alone.

PE HOUSE SUPERVISOR 

AREA: PORT ELIZABETH 
POSITION: HOUSE SUPERVISOR (this is a live in position) 
REPORT TO: REGIONAL MANAGER 
CONTRACT TYPE: PERMANENT 
START DATE: 1 AUGUST 2024 

MAIN PURPOSE:

To supervise the support given to patients and their parents/caregivers at the CHOC House, manage the house and its facilities and liaise with the Psychosocial Staff. 

RESPONSIBILITIES 
  • Supervision of House staff
    • To ensure that all contracts are signed by both house and casual staff where needed and that staff are aware of the applicable policies and procedures relevant to accommodation. 
    • To develop monthly timetable for weekend shifts of relief staff at the CHOC House. 
    • To oversee leave of staff and ensure appropriate plans have been put in place to ensure the daily running of the house. 
    • To submit accurate overtime/relief sheets on time to the Regional Manager. 
    • To ensure that the house staff are performing their tasks and responsibilities and report any issues to the Regional Manager. 
  • CHOC House
    • To supervise patient admissions to the house in conjunction with the relevant hospital and CHOC staff. 
    • To ensure that the CHOC house policy and house admission rules are adhered to. 
    • To supervise the effective day-to-day running of the house. 
    • To support and assist the children and caregivers where required. 
    • To plan a weekly menu, and that nutrition meals for the children and parents/caregivers is prepared by the House Support Assistant and in her absence the House Supervisor. 
    • To oversee maintenance issues at the CHOC House and to ensure that problems are being recorded and fixed timeously. 
    • To ensure a clean, safe, and tidy garden and vehicles. 
    • To transport children and parents to and from treatment centre as and when required 
    • To assist patients and their parents/caregivers with their return-home requirements, as well as any arrangements that need to be made for various procedures of the child. 
    • To be available for emergencies on a 24-hour basis when on duty. 
    • To hold weekly meetings with the parents staying at the house and submit the minutes timeously to the Regional Manager. 
    • To meet regularly with house staff to iron out any challenges. 
    • To ensure that the donation storeroom is kept neat. 
    • To ensure that house inventories are kept up to date. 
    • To oversee the food storeroom, check expiration dates and to update the food inventory timeously. 
    • To ensure compliance with all Health and Safety aspects at the House. 
    • To accept in-kind donations relevant to the house as per the region’s GIK process in conjunction with the Regional Coordinator. 
    • To ensure that the GIK record form of received donations is submitted to the Regional Administrator to proceed with the thank you letters. 
    • To arrange weekly interactive programme for the children and their caregivers who are staying at the house and to be actively engaging with the house occupants. 
    • To arrange skill workshops to be done with the parents. 
    • To arrange house volunteers to do activities with the children. 
    • To plan and arrange outings for parents and children with the permission obtained from the Paediatric Oncology Unit. 
    • To ensure the house and garden is always in a well-presented condition for visitors show around. 
    • Weekly or monthly grocery shopping 
    • Prepare once a week RC morning tea sandwiches 
    • Report incidents to RM 
  • Events and Function 
    • To assist in organising any event as requested 
    • To buy refreshments or food for events or office meetings 
    • To prepare the boardroom for upcoming meetings with visitors. 
  • Finances and Administration
    • To maintain financial record keeping regarding the House purchases. 
    • To administer transport funds. 
    • To assist with recording of donations in kind that is received at the office. 
    • To regularly update the house occupant’s information to the Accommodation service on Salesforce. 
    • To compile statistical records of bed occupancy, vehicle reports and submit to the Regional Manager and Regional Coordinator. 
    • To coordinate volunteer and/or donor visits to the CHOC House 
    • To coordinate all meetings in terms of logistics and catering at the CHOC House. 
    • To maintain the asset, register for the House. 
    • To assist with CHOC programmes as requested by the Regional Manager. 
REQUIREMENTS FOR POST 

Qualification: Minimum of Grade 12 and a qualification as a Social Auxiliary Worker or as a Child and Youth Care Worker will be an advantage 

Experience: Minimum of 2years Experience in caring for people compromised by illness, previous experience as a House Supervisor/Mother would be an advantage. 

Additional Training: Above average computer literacy (MS Office) + CRM database and good administrative skills as well as CPR and/or first aid. Private and Confidential 

Skills and Attributes: Maturity, stress tolerance, compassion, empathy, patience, discretion yet assertive, be comfortable in working with people compromised by illness and affected by illness, proactive, a high level of integrity, be highly motivated with a willingness to take initiative and responsibility. 

Recommendation: Experience of working with children and their families compromised by life threatening illnesses or other life traumas, as well as experience in a supervisory role. 

Language Proficiency: Fluency in English and a good understanding of other African languages especially Xhosa & Afrikaans 

Other: A valid unendorsed South African driver’s license C10 with a PDP license and over 3years driving experience. 

Salary in the range of R90 000 – R98 400 per annum CHOC contributes towards a pension fund and medical aid after a successful probationary period. 

To apply submit your CV with the names and contact details of at least 3 recent referees as well as the following documentation to reach the HR Coordinator at [email protected] no later than 5th July 2024: PLEASE USE PE HOUSESUPERVISOR on the subject line. 

  • Certified copy of your identity document/passport 
  • Certified copy of your driver’s licence 
  • Certified copy of your degree certificate/academic record 

If you have not received a response by close of business 12 July 2024 consider your application unsuccessful. 

Against All Odds: Kiana’s Battle with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma

My name is Elisma, and my daughter Kiana is 12 months old. We are from George and arrived at CHOC on December 23, 2022. Kiana is a stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer patient.

Kiana’s journey began on December 20, 2022. She was a very active little girl, but on December 16th, she suddenly stopped walking and couldn’t pull herself up. She had been unusually fussy the week before and refused to sleep alone. Concerned, we took her to the hospital on December 20th. Initially, she was diagnosed with arthritis, but when the doctor noticed something unusual in her ultrasound, he ordered more tests. An MRI revealed a large tumour growing in her lower back, pressing against her spinal cord. The doctors quickly arranged for us to be flown to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Upon arrival, Kiana was re-examined, and on December 24th, doctors formally diagnosed her with cancer, though they couldn’t specify the type. This uncertainty added to my anxiety. On December 26th, we received the devastating news: Kiana was in stage 4 neuroblastoma. I was shattered. I associated stage 4 cancer with untreatable conditions and felt as if someone had declared my baby already lost. The doctor explained that there was little they could do beyond hoping for her recovery. I felt numb and desperate, but looking into Kiana’s trusting eyes, I knew I had to stay strong for her.

Kiana began the first of seven chemotherapy sessions on December 27th. The MRI at Red Cross also showed that the tumour was affecting her nerves, which explained her difficulty in walking. Miraculously, after her first chemotherapy session, Kiana began pulling herself up against the cot railings. She was evaluated by several doctors over the next week, and their expressions told me they doubted she would walk again. We became outpatients on January 3rd and were introduced to the CHOC Foundation, which we gratefully accepted. Initially, I was terrified to leave the hospital, fearing for Kiana’s safety without immediate medical help. However, the CHOC House staff was incredibly supportive, and within weeks, Kiana was walking on her own again. I thank God for His mercy.

In April, another MRI showed slight tumour shrinkage, but not as much as the doctors had hoped. The cancer had spread to other parts of her body. Prof Davids explained that if the tumour shrank further, surgery would be necessary. An operation was scheduled for April 19, 2023, but further MRI studies deemed it too risky, dashing our hopes once more.

Desperate, I begged the doctors to let us go home. They allowed us to leave for three weeks, during which I urged everyone to pray for Kiana. We returned to Red Cross Hospital on May 10th for the sixth round of chemotherapy. Despite the prognosis remaining unchanged, Kiana was happy, running around, playing, and being a baby. She never seemed ill, aside from losing her hair.

On June 1st, another MRI revealed significant improvement. As a result, Kiana was cleared to begin radiation treatment on July 31, 2023. She is currently in week three of treatment and doing extremely well.

Hope, the Light in the Toughest Moments

Did you know that you can refer a child who may have cancer on the CHOC website? Email not displaying correctly?
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Hope, the Light in the Toughest Moments

Meet Childhood Cancer Survivor, Zanele

In 1998 I was diagnosed with Germ Tumor Cell a form of cancer in the ovaries, this diagnosis came as a shock to my family because I was at a tender age of 12 years, now how can a 12-year-old be diagnosed with such a disease which most of the time such cancers are diagnosed in adult women who have given birth and here I am and haven’t started my period!

Ooops you are pregnant
It all began with some sharp pain and swelling on my right side just below my belly button, the swelling appeared as if I had an appendix, after taking many painkillers and some home remedies with no success finally it was time to visit the clinic, by then the pain and the swelling was getting worse. After some check-ups and tests the nurse said that I had been naughty and playing with boys cause my check-up showed ”balloon stomach ”and the urine test revealed that I was ‘pregnant’, ooh my mama got into a Mama Panther mode and demanded to see the doctor-manager or whoever the nurse is reporting to. 

Hospital stays 
We waited for the doctor and after he examined me he apologised to my mother, and immediately referred us to Sebokeng hospital for further tests, I was admitted on our arrival and stayed there for 2 weeks, during the hospital my mother said that the doctors haven’t told her what is wrong with me, therefore, she is going to ask them to discharge me. When we got home my mother’s employer contacted her private doctor at Mediclinic Vereeniging and in 2 days I was in his examination room and referred to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where I was admitted and diagnosed with a germ cell tumour within 2weeks. I had my surgery in December 1998, then January 1999 I was moved to the Pediatric Oncology Unit where I was so scared when I saw all the other sick kids, most of them had no hair on their heads, they looked thin, with somehow skin colour and all the machines that were beeping in this new ward. 

 

Chemo, chemo and lots of chemo  
My own journey of hair loss and somehow skin colour started by the end of January of the same year. I had 9 rounds of chemotherapy with many others to follow, I had 9 rounds of chemotherapy (9 months) with 4 surgeries in between. The treatment was tough, I remember the chemo side effects just like this morning’s breakfast, vomiting till I would feel like I am going to pass out, half of my beautiful long brown-black hair on my pillow and hat, and developing skin discoloration, mine looked like I was a purple Smurf. 
CHOC made our hospital stays easier and much more fun, we would be treated to camps, lunch outings, birthday parties, presents, celebrities and cartoon figures. These were indeed fun times when one would feel normal and healthy, you could bet that we were not sick after each outing, the chats and the laughter when we got back to our ward where our family back home felt at ease too. I would get a weekend pass out from Thursday to Monday and then back to the hospital again, it was not easy as I was always sick and would come back before the end of the pass out. And yeah, the passing of other kids was the painful thing again, as much as the doctors and the hospital staff tried to be discreet about the news we would somehow find out and this would turn our stomachs upside down. And there are 2 deaths that are just locked in my memory, but that is a story for another time. 

Real-world and recovery 
I was declared cancer-free and discharged from the hospital in November 1999. My family was over the moon including myself, now I could not wait to get back to school the following year. January 2000, I went back to school, this was another journey that I was unprepared for, my hair was more like a newborn baby hair, still thin, and with skin discoloration. The worst of it was when my parents and teachers realised that I lost my hearing ability in my right ear, my sense of touch was not like others. This was now another fight on its own. Before I could get a hearing aid I learned how to lip read and had to learn to write and hold objects tightly or until I could feel them piercing through my hand. I had to these are some of the chemotherapy’s lifelong side effects.  

Life was hard as most of the kids were scared to be around me, sometimes nasty kids would make fun of me, but I was under strict watch from my teachers who made sure that I was not bullied at school, and I took my daily medication. In 2003 I went back to the hospital because I had gallbladder stones… My family and I were scared that the cancer was back!! They were removed, and I went back to school after and continued to soldier on. It was fun and scary to be in the real world. Though I managed to pass primary last year and went to high school and completed my matric in 2005 I had to study 10 times harder than other kids because I had something called chemo brain where one forgets easily. 

It took me years to stop worrying about relapsing and much effort to live my life freely and enjoy every given moment.

Today I am a qualified Social Auxiliary Worker and hold an End-user computing certificate. 

Hello, My name is Zanele Mohlongo and I am a cancer survivor. This year I am celebrating 24 years of remission.

Nurses Day With Lancet

We just wanted to give you a huge shout-out to Lancet for the wonderful gifts that were handed out at the Paediatric Oncology Wards for Nurses Day!

To our nursing staff – your unwavering dedication, tireless service, and compassionate hearts make you true heroes.

Thank you to NCL for adding light to our homes!

Thanks to the remarkable funding from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) our Plumstead and Sybrand Park CHOC Houses have received solar valued at R446,000. This funding is more than just an investment in infrastructure; it’s an investment in hope, health, and well-being. These panels ensure a reliable and sustainable power source, keeping the lights on even during load-shedding. Additionally, solar power reduces electricity bills and the carbon footprint, making the facilities more environmentally friendly.
As we celebrate this milestone at the Sybrand House, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to National Lotteries Commission South Africa and all our donors. Your commitment to our cause fuels our determination to create a brighter, healthier future for every child or teenager who has been diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder.
 
Hedley Lewis, CHOC CEO expressed how grateful we are for the funds received and how we can start to filter the “going green” theme throughout CHOC. Hedley Lewis says “The money which will be saved from this system will be utilised within the house, bringing down our monthly running costs.” 

 

Advancing Early Detection of Childhood Cancer in South Africa

At CHOC, we’re committed to spreading awareness about the symptoms and Siluan Early Warning Signs (EWS) of Childhood Cancer as part of our Awareness Training and Education Programme.

Recently, we conducted specialised training for a group of dedicated Healthcare Professionals, including nurses and doctors. The focus was to equip them with the knowledge to recognise the symptoms and Siluan Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer.

Our mission is clear — early detection saves lives! By 2030, we aim to raise these survival rates to 60% across South Africa, which aligns with the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC). Therefore, we recruited 22 professional nurses from all over the country to convey hope to communities. 

Last week together with the Northwest Department of Health, we trained several Healthcare professionals nurses and doctors on the early warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancer in Mafikeng.

Our aim is to increase the survival rates of children and teenagers with cancer in the Northwest Province using the IMCI principles.





 


Tribute to Mum Nomvula

Written for Mum Nomvula by our Chief Social Worker, Lawrence 

Our beloved colleague, known to us as Mum Nomvula and to some as Mum Vigi, was genuine with all of us and true to herself.

We shared many happy and sad moments with her. She was a woman of her word, a straightforward talker who never held grudges.

Mum Nomvula was a true foot soldier in the childhood cancer community. She was strict, professional, and dedicated to serving the children and families affected by childhood cancer. Despite the challenges of public transport, she was the only person on the psychosocial support team to arrive at work as early as 6:00 a.m., ensuring that families arriving in the early hours or the night before received care.

She served with pride and dignity, her life centered around her love for the children and their families.

Beyond her professional role, Mum Nomvula was a mother, sister, mentor, and friend to us all. She could be both firm and friendly, making us feel safe in her presence while also playing a motherly role.

Her illness left the team devastated, and her absence at the annual social workers’ meetings was deeply felt, leaving a void that can never be filled.

In her final days, she was open and honest about her medical condition each time we reached out. She knew she was about to depart from this earth and often spoke about her destiny, assuring us of her love for the CHOC team.

May the fighting, genuine, reprimanding, and committed spirit of Mum Nomvula rest in peace.

Her loving spirit will forever live with us. We love you, Mum Nomvula.

Rest well, Chawekazi.
 

Comrades 2024

Thank you to our HR Team

Behind every successful organisation stand the unsung heroes who keep the wheels turning — the Human Resources (HR) team. Our HR team works tirelessly to ensure the well-being of every team member, seamlessly handling everything from policy enforcement to office morale. They are the backbone that supports our workplace.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to TK, Ntombi, and Lungile. Your dedication and hard work do not go unnoticed. You ensure that our work environment is not only functional but also enjoyable and supportive. From onboarding new employees to managing benefits and addressing concerns, you are there every step of the way, ensuring that our organization remains a great place to work.

Thank you, for your unwavering commitment and the positive impact you make daily. Your efforts are truly appreciated, and we are grateful for everything you do!

Celebrate with us as we turn 45!

As CHOC commemorates its 45th anniversary, we reflect on the journey that has shaped us into the beacon of hope and support we are today. It all began with the vision and dedication of individuals like Prof Lorna MacDougall, whose pioneering spirit laid the foundation for our organisation.

In the mid-1970s, Prof Lorna MacDougall, a compassionate Scottish doctor with extensive experience in East Africa and the USA, arrived in Johannesburg.

Recognising the need for specialised care for peadiatric hematology and oncology patients, she spearheaded the establishment of a dedicated unit at Johannesburg Hospital in 1979.

This unit, initially situated at the old TMI, later became known as the Children’s Hematology Oncology Clinic – affectionately abbreviated as CHOC, thanks to Prof MacDougall’s initiative.

The formation of CHOC in 1979 marked a turning point in the fight against childhood cancer in South Africa. Inspired by Prof MacDougall’s vision, a group of parents, including Ken Eaton, Winton Woodruffe, and Giovanni Vasta, banded together to provide support and advocacy for children battling cancer.

Despite facing challenges, such as legal restrictions on funding, the unwavering dedication of CHOC’s founders and supporters ensured its continued growth. Notably, in 1981, CHOC received a significant boost when Johannesburg Hospital selected it as the beneficiary of funds raised at a prestigious event, signaling widespread recognition of its vital role in the community.

Amidst the trials and triumphs, two individuals emerged as pillars of CHOC’s mission: Julian and Sadie Cutland. Their steadfast commitment and tireless efforts propelled CHOC forward during its formative years and beyond, ensuring that children and families affected by cancer received the care and support they desperately needed.

As we celebrate our 45th anniversary, we extend our deepest gratitude to Prof Lorna MacDougall, the founding parents, and all those who have contributed to CHOC’s legacy of hope and healing. And to Sadie Cutland, whose unwavering dedication continues to inspire us, we express our heartfelt appreciation for her invaluable contributions to CHOC’s mission.

Together, we reaffirm our commitment to providing comfort, care, and support to children with cancer and their families, honoring the spirit of compassion and resilience that has defined CHOC for 45 remarkable years.

Join us at one of our upcoming events

CHOC Walk up Sani Pass

This year, we eagerly embark on our 15th CHOC Walk Up Sani Pass, standing united with children and teenagers who bravely face cancer or life-threatening blood disorders, alongside their families.

Heartfelt gratitude to all who dedicate this day, every step, to such a noble cause. We look forward to having each of you join CHOC KwaZulu-Natal Region as we ascend Sani Pass, one step at a time.

Registration is R400.00 for adults and children over 16 years and R300 per child under 16 years. Includes a T-shirt and a meal.

Register here

Immortals CHOC Bikers Run

A Bikers event filled with heart and soul.  Come and join the Bikers community from Bloemfontein and raise awareness about childhood cancer and CHOC.

Venue 10:00 Start point Universitas Hospital Parking area 11:00 Mass ride to The Barn Showground      
Price R100pp
Cloth batch and hamburger and chip
Where are tickets purchased?
CHOC Office Econo Optometrist (old DB Building) 

Register here


Celebrating our Fathers

Here is Mzwandile’s story in his own words:   My name is Mzwandile. I am a 58-year-old single father from Fani Village in Queenstown, Eastern Cape. My one and only son, Asanele Matume, who is 8 years old, was left with my sister when I went to town to look for a job. Asanele was only about 2 weeks old, and from then on, I had to raise him on my own with the assistance of my sister and my brother.

Asanele grew up very well until the beginning of April 2024, when he experienced a loss of appetite, high temperatures, and just not feeling himself. I took him to the clinic every time he was not well, but he was not getting any better. He was then transferred to Frontier Hospital in Queenstown where tests were done.

My world was shattered when I was told that my son has cancer of the blood (leukaemia). He is my only hope, and I only want what is best for him. We were transferred to Frere Hospital in East London for further management.

Upon arrival at Frere, we met with the amazing doctors, social worker, and nurses. Just a day after we were admitted, I was given some items by CHOC, such as toiletries, shoes, and a few items of clothing, as we traveled in haste from home. When I first arrived here, I was wearing heavy-duty boots and work overalls. The doctor immediately gave my child treatment for his cancer, and I am so proud to say my son can get up from his bed again already and join the other kids to play – all within two weeks of starting his treatment.

I am happy I followed my heart and put my child first by coming to this unit. The doctors have lots of hope for my son, and while I am taking things one day at a time, I am looking forward to the day (whether it’s years later) when I am able to go home with my child and say that he is cancer-free.

Thank you, Frere Hospital and CHOC, for everything.