How to win a bag of potatoes

2019-09-10 06:00
Yolanda Bagley, her husband Antonio, their son Matthew and their baby Milan show the not so grand prize for the raffle. The family, who lost their daughter Mackenzie to cancer, works with MCHCT to support other families.

Yolanda Bagley, her husband Antonio, their son Matthew and their baby Milan show the not so grand prize for the raffle. The family, who lost their daughter Mackenzie to cancer, works with MCHCT to support other families.

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Easy. Step one: attend or participate in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on 15 September. Step two: stop at the My Child has Cancer Trust (MCHC) stand. Step three: buy a raffle ticket for R10 or nine raffle tickets for R100. And, voila, you are in the draw.

Unless you bought tickets for R50 because then you would get zero tickets!

This bit of silliness is aimed at creating awareness around the trust and the work they do. As Deirdre Taylor, one of the trust’s founders, explains, when you buy a raffle ticket in support of a good cause, it is not about the prize, but rather to connect in a meaningful way with the good work it does.

“And like the potatoes, we have also slowly been growing, under the radar, until we were ready to say, ‘Hello world, here we are.’”

This is the first year that the trust, which was registered in 2011, has been selected as a charity partner at the marathon.

“We have one runner, Freddie Le Roux, who will be raising funds for us. Our stand will be at Rondebosch Common, directly opposite The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, so we encourage all runners and supporters to visit our stand and buy a ticket.”

Taylor, together with Suzanne Grove, came up with the idea to start an organisation that provides emotional support to primary family caregivers of children aged 18 and younger diagnosed with cancer.

They met 10 years ago by chance when their children, both diagnosed with cancer, were placed together in a hospital room which was meant for a single patient.

Taylor’s son was five when he was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer in 2009. He underwent one-year of intensive treatment. She says seeing her son go through that – the radiology, the injections – made her realise how strong he was.

“I wasn’t someone who would speak in front of others or even talk to strangers. But how could I be scared of something like that if my child was so brave?”

She says this gave her the courage to become a voice for families going through the same experience they did.

“Today we are blessed to have our 16-year-old son with us, but something like that changes you. Our family – me, my husband Damascene and Ethan’s two brothers, Ewan (17) and Declan (15) – fought the battle with him,” she says.

“We know first-hand what it feels like to be faced with the realities of this place we call ‘cancerville’. While the medical staff care for the patient, we are there for the families.”

According to Taylor, acknowledging what you feel and where you are at is an important first step in the healing process.

“Often the primary family caregivers have to be pillars of strength in the family. We offer what we call the unmasked programme, where caregivers can get down to the rawness, where they can admit what they are feeling.”

The name for the trust was inspired by a dream Taylor had. She describes how she woke up one night and shook her husband awake.

“I told him I had dreamt that I had to start an organisation to help other families like ours and that its name should be My Child has Cancer.”

V For more information or to support the trust, call 021 023 0237 or visit its website at www.mychildhascancer.org.za. To support Le Roux, visit www.givengain.com/ap/freddie-le-roux-raising-funds-for-my-child-has-cancer-trust.

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