Discovery Vitality MoveToGive

CHOC provides comprehensive support and care to children and teenagers with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder and their families from the time of diagnosis until the end of treatment – whether cure or sadly end-of-life.  CHOC offers practical support in the form of accommodation, transport assistance, Carebags with essential items and information, to over 3000 beneficiaries annually, particularly from low-income households across South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. . Alongside this practical support, the organisation offers psychosocial and emotional support through more than 17 000 family interactions.

This partnership is part of the broader Vitality MoveToGive campaign. MoveToGive uses crowdsourced philanthropy to improve the lives of thousands of South Africans, by enabling Vitality members to support charitable causes, like CHOC, for social good. The app-based functionality allows members who reach their weekly activity, financial and driving goals to donate their earned Discovery Miles to a preselected cause or charity.

James Vos, Head of Product Management at Discovery Vitality and lead on MoveToGive says, “We are grateful to have a member base who are so generous in supporting those fighting cancer.” He adds, “It is an honour to partner with CHOC, whose mission aligns so closely with Discovery’s core purpose of making people healthier and protecting and enhancing their lives.”

For more information on the campaign please visit https://www.discovery.co.za/vitality/movetogive-choc-foundation

For further media queries please contact:

 

CHOC Representative:

 

Hedley Lewis, CEO

[email protected]

 

Nirupa Kasserchun, National Fundraiser

[email protected]

 

Taryn Seegers, Communications Coordinator

[email protected]

 

Discovery Vitality Press Representative

 

Munene Khoza

Senior Reputation Manager | Vitality & Wellness

[email protected]

About Vitality

Vitality is the largest global platform for behaviour change, underpinning the insurance products of leading insurers worldwide, with more than 20 million members in 30 markets. The Vitality model, established by Discovery Limited in South Africa, has been incentivising behaviour change amongst its clients for over 25 years. Vitality creates shared value by combining behavioural economics, clinical science, and financial incentives to encourage and reward members for taking steps to improve their health. The model began with a focus on health and wellness, and has expanded to include short-term insurance, investments and financial wellness. For more information, please visit the Vitality Website or email the Discovery Media Relations team.

 

 

About CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA, founded in 1979, by a group of parents who identified the need to support the parents of children and teenagers who were diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder and their families. In line with the organisation’s vision, we have since evolved into the largest and leading childhood cancer non-profit in South Africa providing life-changing and all-embracing support programmes to both the child or teenager and their families, from diagnosis to remission or sadly end-of-life. Our core programmes are in line with the WHO Global Childhood Cancer initiative to increase the survival rate of childhood cancer in South Africa to 60% by 2030 through our Comprehensive Child and Family Support Programme offering psychosocial,  emotional and practical support, education and awareness;  as well as advocacy through strategic alliances and networks.

Be Bold, Go Gold

Gold September is an annual campaign worldwide to raise awareness of childhood cancer. There are many advances in pediatric oncology, yet cancer remains a leading cause of mortality in children. It is imperative that children are diagnosed early for effective treatment of early-stage disease, which will translate into favourable outcomes and improved overall survival. Many factors are responsible for delays in childhood cancer, including the child’s age, family’s socioeconomic status, parental educational level, distance of residence from the hospital, cancer type, site, and stage. 

Many children in low- and middle-income countries have poor access to hospitals, which in turn lack essential diagnostic tests, experience a shortage of nursing medical and surgical personnel, inadequate and erratic supply of basic pharmaceutical and chemotherapeutic agents, and an absence of radiotherapy, surgical and intensive care facilities. These are but some of the factors which contribute to patients presenting with advanced disease and resultant poorer outcomes. 

As neonatal, infant and child health improves in South Africa, communicable diseases, such as respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases, HIV-AIDS, and tuberculosis, are better controlled. It is imperative to focus on non-communicable diseases such as childhood cancer and identify these diseases early, have access to the correct diagnostics and therapeutics and ensure the availability of supportive care to improve overall survival of our children with cancer. 

The burden of the SARS-CoV-2 is further testing our fragile African health care systems. Many caregivers are unemployed due to national lockdowns, there are inadequate transport systems, and caregivers are afraid to venture out of the safety of their homes to seek healthcare as the ever-present danger of contracting Covid-19 lurks. Sadly, we may experience even further delays in the diagnosis of childhood cancer. 

We should endeavour to ensure children with cancer do not face further delays in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer during the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. 

The Siluan Warning Signs for childhood cancer were adopted by the South African Children’s Cancer Study Group and the national Department of Health to promote the early detection and we encourage the community to be a voice of hope this September and collaborate with health care workers, non-profit organisations, and the Department of Health to spread the Siluan Warning Signs for early cancer diagnosis. This could possibly save the life of a child or teenager. 

If you are concerned your child may have cancer, please refer your child or teenager here: https://choc.org.za/choc-patient-referral-pathways/ 

Professor Gita Naidu
Chair: South African Children’s Cancer Study Group 

Sandhya Singh
Director, Non-Communicable Diseases National Department of Health 

Hedley Lewis 
Chief Executive Officer 

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa 

For Media Queries – contact Hedley Lewis – 0829947655 – [email protected] 

 

CHOC continues to augment the paediatric oncology fraternity

The CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA has continued to augment the pediatric oncology fraternity to support patients to receive treatment throughout the SARS-Coronavirus-2 pandemic.

“If you are receiving treatment for cancer or have signs and symptoms of cancer, please do not delay in going to the hospital. Hospitals and clinics have contingency plans to assist all patients, and infection prevention measures to prevent the spread of SARS-Coronavirus-2” says Professor Gita Naidu, and omit second doctor (President of the South African Children’s Study Cancer Group -SACCSG).

 

At CHOC we recommend that despite the SARS-Coronavirus-2 pandemic which is still evolving globally and remains a public health emergency of international concern, do not avoid getting checked or delay your treatment, an early diagnosis can better the survival rate.

Hedley Lewis – CHOC’s CEO communicates that “our foundation continues to avail ourselves to members of the public who may  detect any of the early warning signs of childhood cancer in a child or teenager, please contact the CHOC helpline – 0800 333 555 (during office hours) or visit our website to get in touch with the region closest to you: www.choc.org.za

To view the CHOC Early Warning Signs please click here: https://choc.org.za/childhood-cancer-early-warning-signs/

 

For further media queries please contact:

Taryn Seegers
[email protected]
+27 72 243 5179

 

CHOC is a non-profit organisation that advocates for the health and well-being of children and teenagers diagnosed with cancer or life-threatening blood disorders. The passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers of CHOC aim to save lives through early detection and comprehensive support programmes for the families affected by cancer such as; accommodation, transport assistance, psychosocial, emotional and practical support and more. They also provide awareness and education on childhood cancer and life-threatening blood disorders.

Welcoming our new Chief Executive Officer, Hedley Lewis

Welcoming CHOC’s new Chief Executive Officer, Hedley Lewis

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA eagerly welcomed our new Chief Executive Officer, Hedley Lewis, to the team in June 2021.

Hedley, with his vast experience in the field of fundraising, has been the Chief Executive Officer of The Smile Foundation for 10 years. He is known for his extensive influence in management, development, and upbringing of strategic opportunities. Hedley left Vodacom and the corporate world to make a difference in the lives of South Africa’s underprivileged children where his journey with The Smile Foundation began.

“Vodacom gave me the opportunity to shoot for the stars and learn from some of this country’s finest leaders, starting in the finance department and then working with the Managing Directors office within the loyalty programs department. During my tenure at Vodacom, I received the Managing Directors’ award” says Hedley.

Adventures as the CEO of CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA

Hedley recently visited a few of our CHOC houses –  the Northern region, and the Saxonwold home – which was the first of the CHOC houses. He shares, “This home in the heart of Johannesburg has the love and warmth of a very special home. Walking through the rooms of the home I could feel the love and care that permeates the atmosphere.”

CHOC July Norther Region

Welcoming a brand new vehicle into the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA Transport Programme

“World Sports Betting generously donated a new quantum to our Gauteng South Region, which is greatly appreciated! This vehicle will transport children from the CHOC house to the hospital daily. For the financial year 2019 – 2020 CHOC was able to assist 847 people through our Transport Programme nationally. In addition to this we also assist families with transport funds. These funds are imperative as we often see children abandon treatment due to lack of transport, or in some cases, transport funds. CHOC’s transport programme relieves the financial burden, particularly in the case of low-income families who live far from treatment centres.  

In the last financial year CHOC was able to provide R635,475 in transport assistance all thanks to our generous donors!”

Hedley is a family man and we know that he will fit into the CHOC team perfectly. We’re excited to see Hedley apply his experience and knowledge to help grow CHOC further and create more awareness for children and teenagers who are fighting childhood cancer. 

Find out More About Supporting CHOC

Contact us to find out more about getting involved with CHOC, or to request more information.

Donate to CHOC here: https://choc.org.za/donate-to-choc/

Visit our online shop: https://choc.org.za/choc-shop/

To find out more about how CHOC supports children and teens with cancer, and their families, visit https://choc.org.za/choc-programmes-we-offer/

To get involved with CHOC, visit https://choc.org.za/support-choc/

CHOC – Letter about closure

CHOC Lock Down Blog Header

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

Carlos Queiros (CEO) (Board and Exco member)

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

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.