Cancer patients to benefit from SPAR Women's Challenge

20 September 2019

The SPAR Women’s Challenge Joburg at Mark Park Sports Club on Sunday October 6 is all about the women of Joburg getting together to have fun.

But there is also a serious side to the Challenge. Cancer, one of the country’s most prolific diseases will be the biggest beneficiary from the Challenge with proceeds from the race will be donated to Reach for Recovery, a voluntary non-profit support group for women who have to have breasts removed because of breast cancer.

With the SPAR Women’s Challenge Joburg being run in breast cancer awareness month race organisers have confirmed that “Cancervive” will also be at Marks Park on race day.

Cancervive is a survivor driver initiative and was established in response to the dire need of cancer education in South Africa. Cancervive will on race day create awareness and education of cancer in a truly original, impactful and life-changing way through exciting activations involving the thousands of women who will be participating in the Challenge.

One in eight women in South Africa is likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at some stage in her life.  This is a staggering statistic, but the good news is that breast cancer is no longer necessarily a death sentence.

Early detection and treatment have made it possible for the majority of breast cancer patients to survive.

However, having a partial or full mastectomy is a traumatic experience for any woman.  Many struggle to come to terms with the loss of what they believe is an essential part of their femininity.  They may also be scared of the path that lies ahead and this is where Reach for Recovery comes in.

Every member of Reach for Recovery has been through the process and can relate to the concerns and fears of the newly diagnosed.  Volunteers will visit the patient, either at home or in hospital, to talk about what they are likely to experience and to give advice and discuss the options.

The patients are given a booklet and pamphlets dealing with various topics relating to breast cancer.  The patients are also given a soft cushion for under-arm comfort and a pretty floral bag in which to carry the port-au-vac drain that has to be carried around after surgery.

They also supply a temporary prosthesis, if needed, and can advise on the different prostheses available, if the patient is not having reconstructive surgery.

The work these women do is invaluable and they rely heavily on donations to be able to carry out their work.

Many members of Reach for Recovery take part in the SPAR Women’s Challenge Joburg every year.  They are easily identified by their pink t-shirts, but also because wherever they are, there is the sound of laughter and chatter.  Spend some time talking to them and find out more about life after a mastectomy.  It will be time well spent.