Through thick and thin w&h read­ers on the bonds they share with the spe­cial women in their lives

From cri­sis calls to shared pas­sions, w&h read­ers tell Stephanie van der Plank about the bonds they share with the spe­cial women in their lives

Woman & Home (South Africa) - - Editor’s Letter -

Child­hood friends & busi­ness part­ners

MARGIE DOIG-GANDER, 44, lives in River Club with her hus­band and two sons. Dr Heidi van Log­geren­berg, her friend, 44, lives in Park­town with her hus­band and two daugh­ters. They started Join­cir­cles in 2015, of­fer­ing DNA and bio­chem­istry test­ing on­line.

“Heidi and I have known each other since we were eight – grow­ing up in a small Dur­ban neigh­bour­hood. We moved schools to­gether, re­lo­cated to Joburg in the same year, and lived to­gether at uni.

In 2009, Heidi was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer and had a full mas­tec­tomy. The over­whelm­ing feel­ing was dis­be­lief – for both of us. She was only 35, and had been liv­ing healthily as a raw ve­gan for the past four years. Af­ter her surgery, I brought her a care pack with lovely PJS and body prod­ucts; I didn’t know what else to do. The next shock came when, only one year later, I was di­ag­nosed with ovar­ian can­cer. I went into menopause at 36, af­ter an emer­gency hys­terec­tomy.

We han­dled our trau­mas dif­fer­ently. Heidi dove into re­search on can­cer pre­ven­tion and early de­tec­tion, and I with­drew to sort things out on my own. But, be­cause of all the learn­ing Heidi was do­ing, when she rec­om­mended a bio­chem­istry and DNA test, I took her se­ri­ously and didn’t chide the ad­vice – she’d been through her own bat­tle. That was when we dis­cov­ered func­tional medicine and the power of us­ing your DNA to de­ter­mine what your body re­ally needs. Through­out our own jour­neys of self-dis­cov­ery, we chat­ted con­stantly and started think­ing about how to share this in­for­ma­tion. It was how the idea for our busi­ness, Join­cir­cles, came about.

Start­ing a com­pany with your best friend is eas­ier said than done, and we do have the oc­ca­sional fight. But we wouldn’t have stuck it out if we weren’t so close. We have a lot in com­mon, like our com­pet­i­tive streak, which stands us in good stead in the busi­ness world, and we don’t judge each other – I can come to work with my hair in a mess, wear­ing my com­fi­est clothes. I trust her im­plic­itly.

We’ve had more ‘bests’ than ‘worsts’ – from be­ing caught at a club by Heidi’s mom when we were 16 to start­ing our busi­ness at 41. Heidi is far more than my friend and col­league – we’re like sisters.”

Heidi says…

“Some re­la­tion­ships get to the point where you don’t see the ex­ter­nal per­son any more; you see their soul. My friend­ship with Margie is like that. When I started re­search­ing DNA and bio­chem­istry, I dis­cov­ered that we have sim­i­lar vari­a­tions in our DNA that ham­per us from detox­ing oe­stro­gen. This, along with our sim­i­lar nutri­tion and life­style choices, con­trib­uted to us get­ting breast and ovar­ian can­cer. Even our DNA says we should be re­lated!

Af­ter our can­cer trau­mas, we wanted to find a way to help cre­ate a pos­i­tive out­come, which is how Join­cir­cles came about. It took three years to get up and running, and the main perk is be­ing able to run it with my best friend. On the one hand, we have over­whelm­ing meet­ings with our in­vestors, but we also get to travel abroad for work to­gether. We’ve been to con­fer­ences in Ox­ford and Chicago and, while we did learn a lot about the in­dus­try, we also did our fair share of shop­ping! We step up for each other all the time, in life and in busi­ness; we can even swap roles in Join­cir­cles if need be.” See join­cir­cles.com >>

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