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
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.”
“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 >>