CHOC – Letter about closure

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Dear Friends of CHOC

Covid-19 / the Corona Virus is having a global impact and is effecting each one of us. Of concern to CHOC is the health and safety of all involved with CHOC, especially the children and teens with cancer who are under treatment, many of whom have compromised immune systems. Continue reading

Message from the CEO

Was that 2018 or a bullet train?!

I am sure that is how many of you have experienced 2018 thus far. But for many others that is not their experience. When a child, teenager, mom or dad gets told that they or their child has cancer it is like everything suddenly goes into slow motion. You hear what the doctor or the CHOC Social Worker is saying, but you cannot really process it – you are still stuck on the word “cancer!”

I experienced this for myself a few weeks ago when I was told “your wife has advanced colon cancer.” I wanted to shout back at the doctor and say, no, stop staying this to me – this cannot be about my wife. That was hard enough, so I can only imagine how hard it must be for a parent to be told their child has cancer. As children are vulnerable, it is always harder for us to see them go through pain and suffering.

Through CHOC, thanks to our wonderful staff and many amazing volunteers, we can at least say that for children and teens fighting cancer, and their loved ones, we have made the journey easier and have provided encouragement and hope. Hope – that’s an important word…

So much has happened over this last year. Here are just some of the highlights:

  • We commissioned an outside, professional and highly regarded company, Ask Afrika, to conduct a study to assess if CHOC and our programmes have had a real impact on our beneficiaries. The study was conducted among all of our stakeholders (teens, parents, family members, donors, volunteers, medical professional and others). We are very pleased to say across all stakeholder groups we scored very highly, an average of 90%. For the direct beneficiaries (survivors, teens and parents) 98% stated that CHOC’s support and services had a very good to excellent effect on their fight against cancer. (A full report is available on request.)
  • Our CHOC social workers provide a vital service in the paediatric oncology wards. We started the year with 7 social workers and social auxiliary workers in five wards, and ended the year with 11 in 13 paediatric oncology wards in the country, with another two placements for two new wards in process (some smaller units share a social worker). This will mean that CHOC will then have a social worker in almost every single paediatric oncology unit in the whole country!
  • While we ended the last fiscal year in a moderate deficit, this was not due to reduced effort around fundraising, but due to the fact that we significantly increased the extent and reach of our programmes. You will see from our statistics that we are serving more children and family members in more ways than ever before.
  • We were very excited to have opened a new home in Pretoria (the Northern Region) and in Cape Town (next to Red Cross hospital) this year! This means that CHOC now has 13 accommodation facilities throughout the country, ensuring that every single child, teen, parent and family member that needs accommodation close to a paediatric oncology unit has access to a safe and secure home away from home.
  • Almost two years ago CHOC was asked to be an Anchor member of CCI (Childhood Cancer International) Africa. Over the last year CHOC has played an increasingly significant role in assisting the growth in CCI Africa and other sister childhood cancer and parent organisations in Africa. CHOC hosted the Africa Regional Workshop in Johannesburg, and soon we will be training social workers from other countries in Africa.
  • Our Awareness Training programme has gone from strength to strength, and is now being implemented throughout the county. Over 25,000 medical and medically related professionals have been trained in the early warning signs of childhood cancer and the referral process. No doubt, through this, lives have been saved.

So, all in all, despite a tough economic climate and the pressures from rising demands for our support and services we have much to be grateful for and to celebrate. However, the rising demand for our services also means that we need your support more than ever!

I would like to deeply and sincerely thank each and every one of you who have generously and faithfully supported us over the past year. If you have ever visited one of the wards we work in; visited a CHOC house; or met any child, teen or parent benefitting from CHOC services, you will know what a massive difference our work makes.

Thank you all, have a great festive season, and Merry Christmas!

Carl Queiros, CHOC CEO
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso

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.

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


  • 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.