85 years of cancer research

Cansa Relay for Life 2013 survivors’ lap.                PHOTO: supplied
Cansa Relay for Life 2013 survivors’ lap. PHOTO: supplied

ESTABLISHED in 1931, the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) continues to play a leading role in cancer research and cancer control policy development, as well as providing care, support and education to South Africans affected cancer.

By the time the National Cancer Association changed its name to the Cancer Association of South Africa in the 1990’s, the non-profit organisation was firmly established as the country’s leading player in cancer research, education and support. Each decade Cansa has steadily developed a comprehensive service to the public, making a positive difference to thousands of South Africans affected by cancer.

“I believe our founders would be proud of what we have achieved and continue to strive for. We have not only built on their legacy, we have also expanded their vision to provide care, education and research,” said Elize Joubert, Cansa’s chief executive officer.

Cansa relies heavily on corporate donors, cash donations and volunteerism to fund its health, care and support programmes, advocacy initiative and research initiatives.

Joubert said one of Cansa’s most extraordinary achievements in its 85 years of operation is establishing a community of people, affected by the dread disease in one way or another, who work together to raise funds and get work done.

“These include cancer survivors, caregivers, medical and research professionals, sponsors and the general public who never cease to surprise us with their generosity and participation in our national and regional events,” said Joubert.

Some of the main events include the Cansa Shavathon, Cansa Relay For Life, Cuppa For Cansa and various sporting events that are supported by extensive marketing and promotion, all aimed at creating awareness and influencing behaviour.

“We also need to recognise the work that goes into the myriad community events that take place each month throughout the country,” said Joubert.

Over the years, Cansa has been recognised nationally for its significant contribution to South Africa’s fight against cancer. In 2015 and 2014 Cansa came first in the NGO sector of PMR’s Diamond Arrow Overall National Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes and Initiatives.

In 2013 Cansa received a Gold Award for Generosity and Excellence at the Stellenbosch University Vice-chancellor’s Awards.

The Cansa brand was rated the ‘most trusted’ by Reader’s Digest in its Charities category in 2014 and the most highly commended in 2015. It was also voted the ‘most coolest’ brand by youngsters in the 2016 Sunday Times Generation Next Survey.

In November 2015, Cansa ‘s CEO was announced as the African Continental Winner for Welfare and Civil Society Organisations at the 2015 Africa’s Most Influential Women (MIW) in Business and Government Awards. This followed her winning two awards in July: ‘Country Winner from South Africa’ and ‘SADC South Regional’ for the category ‘Welfare and Civil Society Organisations.’

In addition, Cansa integrated report has been recognised several times by the Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa’s Annual Report Awards in the NGO Category, named the 2011 winner in Best Sustainability Reporting; and receiving merit awards in 2012 and 2013.

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