To offer support to over 100 000 South Africans affected with cancer annually, Cancer Buddies, a free and easily accessible peer-to-peer buddy support network, was established to support and empower patients, caregivers and families.
With a wealth of knowledge built up over 15 years, Cancer Buddies non-profit company (NPC) 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,” said Brett Simpson from Cancer Buddies.
Brett was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma cancer in 2007.
According to Brett, the landscape of how society copes with and heals through cancer today is changing tremendously, thanks to new and ground-breaking science in psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics and the placebo effect, which speak to how our emotions and thinking affect our physical bodies.
“Like so many others, the impact of my cancer diagnosis was an emotional and psychological roller coaster.
“For the first time in my life I was faced with the fear of death and more surprisingly, my fear of wholehearted living,” said Brett.
“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,” he added.
In analysing the limited resources cancer patients currently have at their disposal, the team was unsettled to realise, that cancer support organisations predominately only cater to English and Afrikaans speakers.
In the spirit of Ubuntu and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the organisation will honour the great legacy of Nelson Mandela, by launching Cancer Buddies in Tata’s home language, Xhosa, in celebration of what would have been the year of his 100th birthday.
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According to census data from 2011, in South Africa, the vibrant Xhosa speaking community consists of over 8.15 million individuals nationwide.
“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 that could use our support,” said Brett.
The funds raised from their BackaBuddy campaign will be used to employ retired oncology nurse, Marta Booi for 12 months.
Marta will be used as a call centre agent answering the toll-free helpline in Xhosa.
She will translate the Cancer Buddies website and adapt their social media strategy to include both English and Xhosa content.
The funds will also keep Cancer Buddies operational for the next four months.
The campaign launched at the beginning of October has already raised R13 785.67 towards their goal of
R100 000 with contributions from 12 donors.
Donate to this campaign by visiting www.backabuddy.co.za/cancer-buddies-in-xhosa.
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