Relay pumps up funds

2019-03-19 06:01
Gaironesa Davids in wheelchair leading the procession around the field at the start of the event as a cancer survivor herself.PHOTO: Rashied Isaacs

Gaironesa Davids in wheelchair leading the procession around the field at the start of the event as a cancer survivor herself.PHOTO: Rashied Isaacs

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Even load shedding could not dim the spirits at the Cansa Relay for Life (RFL) Athlone event on Friday evening. The lack of electricity might’ve delayed activities, but relay participants kept the energy high by singing their favourite songs at Turfhall Stadium.

This year’s theme for the overnight event was “Together we can”, which was a nod to the “village” that aids cancer patients and their caregivers.

The 250 survivors in attendance were treated to a meal at the stadium’s hall before joining the festivities. Among them was breast cancer survivor Myra America (64), who regularly travels by taxi (from Manenberg) to volunteer at various Cansa patient care facilities.

She mentioned seeing many patients receiving treatment who didn’t know where their next meal would come from. “This is an extra worry for patients who must focus on getting better,” she said.

America, a mother of four and grandmother of one, attended the event with her children and some of her grandchildren.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer four-years-ago. I know from when I was sick, the hospital never explained what it’s going to be like and it was very confusing. That’s why I wanted to get involved to help prepare patients for what’s to come and let them know they have to keep fighting,” she explained.

The youth played a huge role in maintaining the exuberant atmosphere, with Zara Lamprecht (10) and Zarah Taylor (11) fluttering around the track in fairy costumes.

“We’re here to cheer people on to fight back and help them not lose hope,” said an excited Lamprecht.

“My mommy had cancer, she’s a survivor that’s why I’m here,” said Taylor.

Volunteers Darren Jeneker (21), Ashwin Herman (20) and Saahira Smith (19) were in agreement about the importance of youth participation. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate since there are many young people affected as well,” said Smith.

“Participating helps me feel a part of something greater, too many youths get caught up in the wrong things. Volunteering is a better way for us to spend our time,” said Jeneker, a Grassy Park resident.

“I lost my grandpa to prostate cancer eight-years-ago and wanted to participate to honour him. I also think everyone has the right to quality cancer treatment and care,” said Herman.

Anthea Bingle (54) Chairperson of Cansa RFL Athlone and cancer survivor, thanked the 70 team captains, their team members and volunteers for all of their efforts. All of the proceeds will be used to assist the organisation, to render services such as counselling providing adult nappies, nutrition meals, bedpans and wheelchairs.

“The spirit of fighting is definitely here tonight, despite having no power since 18:00 (the start of the event). Eeryone is more determined than ever. Even though we don’t have music, we are creating a positive vibe through singing and chanting words of encouragement,” said Bingle.

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