Miss SA talks about her battle with TB, launches new campaign

Tamaryn Green (Photo: Gallo Images)
Tamaryn Green (Photo: Gallo Images)

Johannesburg – Miss SA 2018 Tamaryn Green was brought to tears on Thursday when she discussed her battle with Tuberculosis (TB) at a press conference in Johannesburg.  

The conference was set in place to launch Tamaryn’s #BreakTheStigma campaign which aims to highlight the Tuberculosis epidemic and contribute to ending the disease by 2035.  

With tears in her eyes, Tamaryn recalled being diagnosed with TB in 2015. “I remember it like it was yesterday. Like any other ordinary day, I woke up, I was heading to campus as a student, but I knew something was different. I woke up that morning and there was a lump in my neck and I just knew something was not right.” 

The beauty queen spoke about eventually being diagnosed with TB. “My life has never been the same,” she added.  

Having gone through her treatment to fight the illness, the star disclosed that a side effect she suffered from the medication was drug-induced hepatitis (an inflamed liver).  

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Having now successfully battled the disease, Tamaryn is using her platform as Miss South Africa to educate people. 

Speaking to The Juice Tamaryn says telling her story has lifted a weight off her shoulders.

“Speaking about it now makes me feel lighter because I think the more you talk about it, the more you come to accept your diagnosis, the more you deal with it. So I want to encourage people to talk about it – talk about what they’re going through and don’t feel stigmatised.” 

The star says having TB also taught her the importance of not being afraid to ask for help. “Something I learned about myself is that asking for help doesn’t necessarily make you weak, it can make you strong as well. There’s no way I could have gotten through that by dealing with it myself.” 

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Explaining what her campaign will do, she says: “My campaign is based around breaking the stigma with regards to TB. It’s about raising awareness that TB is curable, but it’s still killing so many people, so action needs to be taken. And it’s to work towards that end goal of [ending TB by] 2035. My role in all of this is that I’m going to be the voice behind TB. I’m going to use my platform as Miss South Africa to get the word out to people who don’t usually hear it.” 

As part of her campaign, Tamaryn says she will be creating short educational videos to teach people about TB, the signs and symptoms associated with the disease, and how to get tested. She also plans on creating a website where people can read up on the disease.

She adds: “I am also going to be an ambassador for the World Health Organisation and the National Department of Health where I will be attending these meetings internationally and nationally where I will share my story and learn more about it so that I can be even more educated and share more with the community.”