Dr Nelson Mandela High School teachers and learners held candle-lit prayer meeting in memory of colleagues who lost their lives due to cancer, on Thursday.Zoliswa Ndindwa, from Masithandane Support Group, made up of staff from the school, said the event was meant to raise awareness about cancer.It was formed in 2014. “Some people are scared of talking about cancer. We say cancer can be beaten. We want to remove the myth that when you have cancer, it is caused by witchcraft.Most people still believe so. Four of our members have succumbed to the disease in recent years, while others have family members who have also lost lives in the battle with the disease,” said Ndindwa.Ndindwa said former colleague Jackie Cloete was the first one to break the spell and inform others openly about her battle with cancer.Cloete had breast cancer, according to Ndindwa.“She(Cloete) was very brave. Ndindwa also said they have a learner who had to quit school because of Leukaemia (cancer which starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow), in March. A 15 year old learner from the school, whose name cannot be published, said she had undergone an operation for breast cancer in June.“I felt a lump on my breast, which I did not take seriously. It then became painful until I went to hospital, they told me I had to undergo an operation to remove it(the lump). Early detection helped me. I am free from it now. My mother encouraged me to go for the operation. I encourage everyone to take it seriously, because it can cause one to die. I have not disclosed it to my peers, because they will mock me,” she said. The event was also attended by nurses from Crossroads Day Hospital and religious leaders.Sister Linda Hlahatsi, from Crossroads Day Hospital, encouraged parents to sign a concern form for their children to get free Human Papilloma virus Vaccination (HPV) at schools.“We have a problem with parents who refuse to sign those forms, because they think that the vaccination is about encouraging their children to be sexually active. Girls in Grade four will get two doses of the HPV within six months and it is a once off procedure. The vaccination cost R1400 per dose and the government is giving it free of charge. We also encourage boys to come and check for prostate cancer before they go for initiation,” Hlahatsi said.Teacher, learners and all those who attended the ceremony wrote messages of support to those who are affected by cancer on the day.