It was a fun yet emotional Christmas in July event which honoured cancer survivors and those who died of cancer at the Reiger Park Civic Centre on July 28.
Pictures of people who died of cancer were displayed near the stage with encouraging Bible verses.
Ulita Billings, founder of the the Reiger Park Cancer Support Group, said: “The aim of the event was to raise funds for medical expenses for our cancer survivors.
“Dis-Chem sponsored us last year with R10 000 in aid of medical supplies for the survivors but due to the sponsorship ending this year June, we are now relying on fund-raising and donations from the public.
“The money is used to assist in buying liquid supplements designed specifically for cancer patients, diapers for bedridden patients and many more.”
During the Christmas in July dinner event Prof Bach Magabotla addressed the packed hall about sarcoma cancer.
“When I grew up, cancer actually meant death. Now there is educational programmes and support groups which assist people to understand cancer and how to treat it.
“Sarcoma cancer is a rare kind of cancer that grows in connective tissue, cells that connect or support other kinds of tissue in your body. Sarcoma cancer can start in the bones, muscles, connective tissue, blood vessels or fat, and can be found anywhere in the body.”
Magabotla thanked the Reiger Park Cancer Support Group for doing an amazing job by enlightening and being there for cancer patients.
The invited speaker of the night was Dr Agatha Wilhase, who also spoke about cancer.
She said cancer grows in the cells and can spread due to infections, smoking chemicals, or excessive drinking.
“To prevent cancer you take precautionary measures by looking at your lifestyle, stop smoking, and watching your alcohol intake.
“Vaccines for the human papillomavirus can be given to girls and boys, while it is important to test to know your body. So do that breast exam and pap smear. We have a responsibility to look after our own body,” Magabotla said.
Wilhase said one of the touching situations she has come across was the death of a nine-year-old girl, Jaden.
“When she came to the surgery for the first time she said wanted to be a doctor. When I examined her I saw that she had a lump in her stomach. She fought bravely for a year,” she said.
After the speeches, it was time for the candlelight ceremony to remember those who have died due to cancer.
The candlelight proceedings left people crying as they remembered their sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers who had cancer.
Jaden’s grandmother, Angie Afrika, couldn’t hold back her tears as she looked at Jaden’s picture while lighting the candle in memory of her.
“It was so emotional for me to think about my little beautiful Jaden. We knew that something was wrong, but all the doctors who examined her couldn’t see what the problem was until finally one doctor diagnosed her with cancer but it was too late.”
Billings thanked Dis-Chem and Pink Pollen Foundation, along with pastors, ward 34 councillor Charlie Crawford and members from the Reiger Park Cancer Support Group who supported the day.