Call to open up about cancer

2018-11-06 06:02

Steenberg residents gathered at the St Andrew’s Church hall on Wednesday 31 October to lend their support in raising cancer awareness.

The annual event, now in its fifth year at the church, aims to provide a platform for cancer sufferers, current and in remission, to share their respective journeys while also helping others have a better understanding of what their family or loved ones could be going through.

All proceeds raised at the event will be donated to Cansa Mowbray, which was also present to deliver a motivational speech.

Eighty-nine-year-old Iris Hermanus has been the spearhead of the campaign in Steenberg and, together with St Andrew’s “Pink Ladies”, she hopes more residents will open up about their struggles.

“We are just thinking of people out there who do not worry with those who have cancer. There are such a lot of us who are staying at home, the family does not worry to look after them.

“We are a community and we should reach out to those people. I have these few ladies who I am very thankful for. We are all in our twilight years, we are not young anymore, but this is what we do every year to reach out to people,” she says, adding that she feels not enough is being done to create awareness around cancer in children.

The St Andrew’s Parish priest, Father Basil Davids, said at the event that while there may not have been the same turnout as in previous years, those who were there felt the need to be there and were encouraged by the various testimonies shared.

“I am very happy for everyone who is here to listen, because most of the people who are here are people who have gone through this illness. Some of them are in remission and some of them are busy dealing with it right now,” he said.

Davids added that the broader community should seek to band together to share the load to help comfort and lend support to families who have loved ones with cancer, but said this can only be done if awareness around the disease can be created.

“These awareness programmes must not be boring, it must be fun so that as people learn they will remember these things. Sometimes you bombard people with a lot of information and they leave and understood nothing. If you make it informal and you allow people to engage, that will help them, especially the younger people. There is so much that one can still do, because this is happening only once a year. One needs to do these types of things once a month or maybe twice a quarter,” said Davids, who extended an open invitation to other churches to mobilise people to grow awareness.

“We need to float around, because there is a bigger need. It is not only from St Andrew’s Church; it is the community. If the community can benefit, then it would be a great thing.”

Hermanus echoes Davids’s sentiments and is grateful for the supportive group she has around her in the form of the St Andrew’s Steenberg Seniors.

“I want to thank them especially because I would not be able to do it alone if it weren’t for them as well as some of the church people, because I can’t do it alone. I might have done it before when I was younger,” she says.

She encourages those who may be struggling to reach out by speaking out and extends the invitation to all residents.

“This is open to anybody to come and they can get hold of us through the church. We can do anything through the church and they can get in touch with me.

“People must come forward. It is not everyone who wants to discuss their sickness, but if they come forward and open up then we know where we can help the families. There are many people I see, like when I was at the day hospital yesterday for four hours.

“Once again I say thank you to the Lord.”

Steenberg residents gathered at the St Andrew’s Church hall on Wednesday 31 October to lend their support in raising cancer awareness.

The annual event, now in its fifth year at the church, aims to provide a platform for cancer sufferers, current and in remission, to share their respective journeys while also helping others have a better understanding of what their family or loved ones could be going through.

All proceeds raised at the event will be donated to Cansa Mowbray, which was also present to deliver a motivational speech.

Eighty-nine-year-old Iris Hermanus has been the spearhead of the campaign in Steenberg and, together with St Andrew’s “Pink Ladies”, she hopes more residents will open up about their struggles.

“We are just thinking of people out there who do not worry with those who have cancer. There are such a lot of us who are staying at home, the family does not worry to look after them. We are a community and we should reach out to those people. I have these few ladies who I am very thankful for. We are all in our twilight years, we are not young anymore, but this is what we do every year to reach out to people,” she says, adding that she feels not enough is being done to create awareness around cancer in children.”

The St Andrew’s Parish priest, Father Basil Davids, said at the event that while there may not have been the same turnout as in previous years, those who were there felt the need to be there and were encouraged by the various testimonies shared.

“I am very happy for everyone who is here to listen, because most of the people who are here are people who have gone through this illness. Some of them are in remission and some of them are busy dealing with it right now,” he said.

Davids added that the broader community should seek to band together to share the load to help comfort and lend support to families who have loved ones with cancer, but said this can only be done if awareness around the disease can be create­.

“These awareness programmes must not be boring, it must be fun so that as people learn they will remember these things. Sometimes you bombard people with a lot of information and they leave and understood nothing. If you make it informal and you allow people to engage, that will help them, especially the younger people. There is so much that one can still do, because this is happening only once a year. One needs to do these types of things once a month or maybe twice a quarter,” said Davids, who extended an open invitation to other churches to mobilise people to grow awareness.

“We need to float around, because there is a bigger need. It is not only from St Andrew’s Church; it is the community. If the community can benefit, then it would be a great thing.”

Hermanus echoes Davids’s sentiments and is grateful for the supportive group she has around her in the form of the St Andrew’s Steenberg Seniors.

“I want to thank them especially because I would not be able to do it alone if it weren’t for them as well as some of the church people, because I can’t do it alone. I might have done it before when I was younger,” she says.

She encourages those who may be struggling to reach out by speaking out and extends the invitation to all residents­.

“This is open to anybody to come and they can get hold of us through the church. We can do anything through the church and they can get in touch with me.

“People must come forward. It is not everyone who wants to discuss their sickness, but if they come forward and open up then we know where we can help the families. There are many people I see, like when I was at the day hospital yesterday for four hours.”

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