People's Post

Breast cancer support group in dire need for new premises

Recipients hold silicone breast prostheses which are wrapped up for safekeeping.
Recipients hold silicone breast prostheses which are wrapped up for safekeeping.

The Cape Peninsula branch of the breast cancer support group Reach for Recovery is appealing to landlords who are able to assist them with premises for their Ditto Project.

Launched in 2011, the project raises funds for external silicone breast prostheses that are then fitted and provided free of charge to state patients who have undergone mastectomies. More than 6 500 women have been assisted since its launch.

The support group’s current office space has been sold and without reliable, accessible premises it is unable to operate. It is looking for a space of approximately five by four metres with sufficient storage cupboards and enough room to hold support group meetings when lockdown regulations again allow.

Stephanie van Deventer, the national manager of Reach for Recovery, says the Ditto Project has been on hold during lockdown as they have not been able to fit the prostheses due to social distancing protocols and to protect the health of both volunteers and patients.

“The Covid-19 pandemic also affects our fundraising efforts so the loss of the premises is a big concern. Breast cancer has not stopped in this pandemic and finding a location and safe space to store stock and operate from is imperative so that we can resume our support services as soon as we can.”

Reach for Recovery is able to pay some rental, but can afford a maximum of R4 000 a month.

According to Dr Justus Apffelstaedt, a supporter of the Ditto Project and a specialist surgeon with an interest in breast health as well as soft tissue surgical oncology, the majority of the project’s patients come from state hospitals and Covid-19 hotspots.

“The Ditto Project is an essential service that needs to be able to resume as soon as it can. Apffelstaedt & Associates are assisting them in their search as we recognise women’s need for prostheses and the subsequent emotional and mental benefits. We appeal to landlords who are able to assist to please get in touch.”

  • To assist, contact Carla Lind, the Reach for Recovery chair, on 083 280 3456.

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