People has heart
AN NPO needs your help to battle the silent killer.
FOR as much as cancer is a physical blight, it is just as rough a time emotionally, and while Cancer Buddies can’t (or not just yet) fund the treatment for those who need it most, they can provide something just as important – emotional and psychological companionship. They support and guide the ill throughout their convalescence at no cost at all, empowering patients, caregivers and families.
The peer-to-peer support network was established in 2002 by Carl Liebenberg and Linda Greef. Brett Simpson, the CEO, a survivor of squamous cell carcinoma, is heavily involved in this project. He was first diagnosed in 2007. Brett and the Cancer Buddies team bring up to 15 years’ worth of experience in dealing with cancer and they know better than any other that a rock-solid support structure is paramount. The Cancer Buddies team is therefore more than capable to guide, educate and support those who are poorly. Think of it as a personalised service for cancer patients.
The NPO offers one-on-one support, practical advice and guidance in tackling the impact of a cancer diagnosis and nutritional and lifestyle changes in overcoming physical, emotional and mental obstacles on the road to recovery.
“What makes Cancer Buddies so unique is that newly diagnosed cancer patients are matched with survivors trained to offer support and guidance. This enables cancer patients and their loved ones alike to come to terms with their cancer journey without feeling isolated and overwhelmed,” Simpson says. “The landscape of how we cope with and heal from cancer today is changing tremendously quickly thanks to new and ground-breaking psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics placebo speaks emotions affect our to effect, and how physical and thinking our which the science in beings. others, my cancer the Like diagnosis impact so many of was psychological an emotional rollercoaster. and For the first time in my life I was faced with the fear of death and, more surprisingly, my fear of wholehearted living.” It is because of this that Brett made a selfless shift so that he might help those who battle the exact same psychological and emotional demons that plague a cancer patient. “When I had the opportunity to meet with a cancer survivor – someone who understood my fears, insecurities and my specific cancer, because they had walked in my shoes – it changed my perspective. I then understood that ‘cancer’ doesn’t mean death and I was able to shift my negative thoughts and nurture the hope I had left and use it to heal.” With all of the success thus far, Brett figured it a great idea to reach a new demographic often medically overlooked by others – the 8.15-million-strong Xhosa community. He was inspired by Nelson Mandela’s centenary and Breast Cancer Awareness month in October to, along with the help of the Cancer Buddies team, set up a campaign to assist the oft-overlooked group. In fact, Cancer Buddies has found that support organisations predominately cater to English and Afrikaans-speaking communities.
With their campaign they are looking to raise an initial amount of R100 000 to bolster both their efforts and see to it that their professional staff are paid for.
“As a non-profit organisation dealing with cancer, a disease that affects one in four South Africans in one way or another, we have a responsibility to bridge the language gap and branch out to lower income areas who could use our support. With the funds raised from our BackaBuddy campaign, we will be able to employ retired oncology nurse Marta Booi for 12 months to answer our toll free help line in Xhosa, translate our website, and to adapt our social media strategy to include both English and Xhosa content. The funds will also keep Cancer Buddies operational for the next four months.”
As of October 2018 the fund has raised R13 785.67.
Brett Simpson, CEO of Cancer Buddies