Inspired employees create new hope for cancer patients

2017-07-05 06:02
; These Care Bears are sold to raise funds for the Veronica Minnie Cancer Support Trust.                      Photo:SUPPLIED

; These Care Bears are sold to raise funds for the Veronica Minnie Cancer Support Trust. Photo:SUPPLIED

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“IT is no longer strange to have patients in the chemo room with an empty stomach or patients, who are suffering from severe symptoms, forced to cancel appointments because they do not have the fees for transport.”

These are the words of Lydia van Eck, a chemo sister at Cancercare’s Langenhoven Drive Oncology Centre.

Van Eck is able to sympathise with her patients in a unique way as she was diagnosed with cancer herself last year and had to face a double mastectomy.

She said that while she was in hospital, she realised how fortunate she was to be alive, have access to the best medical care and have a medical aid that covered the expense of her treatment.

“Although most of the patients at the Cancercare Oncology Unit in Langenhoven Drive have medical aids, the financial situation of many of the patients has changed considerably over the past few years. More and more patients lack the funds for the most basic necessities – a cancer process requires unplanned expenses not covered by the medical aids. Many patients cannot afford even basic pain medication,” she said.

Van Eck then decided to become involved in the plight of cancer patients who struggle financially and the Veronica Minnie Cancer Support Trust came to mind.

Cancercare started the Veronica Minnie Cancer Support Trust (CancerAssist) to assist deserving or disadvantaged cancer patients by providing care, counselling and practical support.

“Worldwide, one in eight deaths is due to cancer. It causes more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined,” said Mariana Lourens, Cancercare social worker.

“Patients are referred to our unit’s social workers who ensure that assistance is only given to those in real financial need. The objective is to assist them during their treatment process. Where possible, patients are referred to community resources for a more sustainable service.”

They are currently raising funds by selling teddy bear broaches with a little heart on its chest, called Care Bears. The various colours of the heart represent the different types of cancer.

According to Joleen Beling, Medical Administration Supervisor for Cancercare, they have been selling Care Bears for about three months and have made R20 000 for the Veronica Minnie Cancer Support Trust.

Care Bears are sold at R10 each and are available on 041 450 1302 or at Cancercare’s office situated in Mangold Street, Newton Park.

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