Bells set to toll for Amanzimtoti’s cancer victors

Dr Waldemar Szpak and CEO of Campaigning for Cancer, Lauren Pretorius with Toti’s first cancer bell at the Ring4Cancer campaign launch at Rainbow Oncology on Wednesday, 2 May.

To many, ringing a bell doesn’t seem that significant but to cancer patients ringing the bell symbolises a battle won, a new journey ahead.

Across the world ringing a bell on a patient’s last day of treatment to mark their victory of cancer has become common practise in treatment facilities. Patients describe this moment as restoration of hope, the sound of victory. As such, Campaigning for Cancer championed the Ring4Cancer campaign launch at Rainbow Oncology on Wednesday, 2 May.

The advocacy organisation was formed in 2008 to give a voice to South African patients and those affected by cancer. Campaigning for Cancer, in partnership with various sponsors, will ensure private oncology practises and state oncology facilities are equipped with a bell for patients when their last treatment has come and gone to ring their treatment facility’s bell four times to celebrate hope, strength, recovery, and victory with fellow patients, their healthcare team, friends and family.

As part of Roche’s commitment to partnering with patient groups, they are one of the first sponsors to have come on board to sponsor bells towards this important campaign. “The sound of victory will ring throughout 2018 as we hope to ensure each treatment facility is fitted with a #ring4cancer bell, at no cost to the facility or patients.

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Getting through cancer treatment is a big deal and it needs to be celebrated,” said CEO of Campaigning for Cancer, Lauren Pretorius. Patients can capture the moment of victory – once they have rung the bell four times they can upload a photo or video to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, using the hashtag #ring4cancer and tagging @campaign4cancer.

As more #ring4cancer bells are distributed to treatment facilities, patients will also have the opportunity to invite their loved ones to ring a virtual bell on the Campaigning for Cancer website. “We believe these #ring4cancer bells are a way for patients across Southern Africa to mark the end of their treatment individually but celebrate collectively.

Cancer patient Cheryl van Aardt gets ready to ring the cancer bell as she nears the end of her treatment.

It is estimated that nearly eight million people will die of cancer this year and left unchecked, the number of deaths will increase to 13.2 million per year by 2030. Therefore, initiatives such as World Cancer Day, which was celebrated on 4 February, are important to highlight the fact that with early diagnosis and access to the right treatment, there can be victories in the fight against cancer.

Campaigning for Cancer strives for a South Africa where people affected by cancer receive fair, appropriate, timeous and respectful treatment and care by lobbying for the promotion and protection of the rights of patients and those affected by cancer regarding policy, healthcare costs, and healthcare delivery. This is done on an individual level – changing one life at a time – by providing people with the knowledge and tools to see their treatment process through; as well as on a larger scale – by noting issues highlighted by these individual cases and lobbying for policy change that will affect all of society. For more information, visit @campaign4cancer.

 

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  AUTHOR
Earl Baillache
Journalist

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