CANSA Relay For Life

Celebrate
Remember
Fight Back

Honouring Our Heroes

South African Global Heroes of Hope 2019

Shaunaghlee Ann Botha

Shaunaghlee Ann Botha – Global Hero of Hope 2019

Shaunaghlee Ann Botha (Bloemfontein)

I have been a cancer survivor three times since 1981. Having a family history of cancer, I survived breast cancer twice and colon cancer at the age of 58 and underwent radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery with a colostomy bag.

I have been attending CANSA Relay For Life since 2008 and enjoy the Luminaria ceremony the most because it is important to remember those who have not survived. Cancer not only affects the survivor but the whole family and all of the friends of the survivor. We must remember that and celebrate them as well as the survivor.

I stayed at the CANSA Care Home while I was undergoing radiation treatment and the staff gave me all of the information I needed about the colostomy bag and taught me about my diet while having the bag. I also rented a wig from them. Read more… 

Santana Campobasso (Pretoria)

Santana Campobasa

Santana Campobasa – Global Hero of Hope 2019

I was diagnosed with brain cancer when I was four years old. I remember my mom always being there, supporting me and standing strongly at my side during all the treatments.

I was introduced to CANSA Relay For Life ten years ago and started serving on the committee. I feel that Relay is very important to our country because it is an amazing way for communities to unite.

I am very passionate about CANSA Relay For Life because it does not discriminate and it creates a platform for all communities across South Africa to raise awareness about cancer.

Being part of CANSA Relay For Life has greatly enriched my life with the ability to inspire not only others but myself as well. I am very thankful to be able share my story and give other survivors hope and showing them that miracles do exist. Read more…

Deidre Carter

Deidre Carter – Global Hero of Hope 2019

Deidre Carter (Welkom)

Although I am primarily based in Cape Town I got involved with the CANSA Relay For Life Welkom because of my family’s involvement with the event.

It seemed like the right thing to do because we are such a close-knit family and we had always had a sense of community and becoming involved with CANSA seemed a natural extension.

Many years ago in Pietermaritzburg CANSA had assisted me when I was my father’s caregiver during his last couple of months. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer and CANSA provided me with advice, morale support and medical equipment. Read more…

Monica Lotter (Robertson)

Monica Lotter

Monica Lotter – Global Hero of Hope 2019

When I was diagnosed with breast ten years ago and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the staff from CANSA were such a big part of our lives, always willing to answer questions or just to listen.

I attended the first CANSA Relay For Life as a survivor while I was still receiving chemotherapy. I could not believe how many people were affected by cancer in some way. There are so many South Africans diagnosed with cancer each day. This event can spread cancer awareness and give hope to cancer survivors, their families and caregivers.

With this, my tenth CANSA Relay For Life, every time I attend as a survivor I have the realization how thankful that I am here to tell my story and share this experience with other survivors. My whole family joins me and we stay the entire night. Read more…

Ianthe Muller

Ianthe Muller – Global Hero of Hope 2019

Ianthe Muller (Welkom)

We came together as a family and cared for my father after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was an honour to love and care for him at home and it eased the burden when he passed away.

CANSA gave us much needed advice, moral support and even medical equipment to help us cope with the challenges of caregiving.

When my niece was diagnosed with cancer, she started serving on the CANSA Relay For Life Welkom committee. It seemed natural that my husband and I, as business owners, also become involved and support CANSA and give back to the community.

Shortly after that, my husband Keith was diagnosed with colon cancer and then my sister underwent a double mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis. Read more…

Sonia Pretorius (East Rand)

Sonia Pretorius

Sonia Pretorius – Global Hero of Hope 2019

I was 27 when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Being recently divorced, with a one year old daughter I had no choice but to survive. In a way my daughter saved my life.

When I was 15 years old my father was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and it was a long fight of 16 years. It was during this journey with the many hospital visits that I was made aware of the importance of proper equipment, correct diagnoses and lifestyle changes that are needed for the entire family to win this fight.

Because my family was on this very hard journey with cancer, I did not tell anybody about my diagnosis until I was in remission. It was only after my first CANSA Relay For Life, seven years ago, that I felt empowered and was able to open up about my own diagnosis. Read more…

Helen Ann Southey

Helen Ann Southey – Global Hero of Hope 2019

Helen Ann Southey (Kimberley)

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 36 years ago. I realised that I have to fight this disease as my children were very young and my husband had passed away a couple of months earlier.

At the time there was little or no support and resources in the little town of Douglas where I lived and I had to rely on family and friends for support. Ten years ago when I moved to Kimberley I was introduced to CANSA Relay For Life and I immediately became involved and trained to become a CANSA volunteer.

CANSA Relay For Life has enriched my life. It is an honour to meet fellow survivors and to celebrate life with them. Read more…

Christelle Strauss

Christelle Strauss – Global Hero of Hope 2019

Christelle Strauss (Nelspruit)

In 2004 I was riding the waves of success; being a successful business woman, supporting two children at university and caring for my 90-year-old mother on top of it all. I was happy with my achievements and satisfied where I was at in my life. Then, BANG: “You have breast cancer.”

I decided not to tell my family. I thought that I could handle this myself. My mother went to her grave not knowing about the diagnosis. I eventually told my two children and they were very annoyed with me for not telling them about the cancer sooner.

I decided to join CANSA for support while I was undergoing chemotherapy and fortunately I did not lose my hair and am in remission for 12 years. Read more…


The Global Relay For Life Heroes of Hope are symbols of personal victories over cancer as they encourage, support and participate in Relay For Life and the mission of the cancer organisations. These exemplary cancer Survivors are not only willing to share the story of their own personal cancer journey, but are also willing to become a voice for cancer organisations and the life saving work they do in the fight against cancer.

Their leadership and determination help grow Survivorship Programmes, as well as Relay For Life. These heroes have lobbied governments and the United Nations for support, helped make the word “Survivor” a celebration of life, and created momentum for local events. They are true Heroes!


South African Global Heroes of Hope

Cancer Survivors inspire hope, courage and determination to fight cancer. South Africa is extremely proud of our Globally recognised Heroes of Hope – they  are beacons of hope to all other cancer patients and Survivors in our country.  As a voice and ambassador of the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), they increase awareness of our organisation, its mission and grow CANSA Relay For Life participation. Their role is so important in leading other Survivors to step up and make a difference. Survivors have the power to save lives by sharing their story and demonstrating many ways to fight back.

Relay For Life welcomes our Heroes to the Global network of Heroes of Hope who are determined to make a difference in saving lives by sharing their story and leading the way. We are grateful for their volunteer efforts and support of CANSA.  Volunteers like this make a difference in the fight in reducing cancer risk and will give those on their cancer journey the opportunity to celebrate more birthdays.

“We are truly honoured to have these very special people being selected as our representatives in our country for CANSA and Relay For Life to spread the message of HOPE,” says CANSA CEO, Elize Joubert. “These people are the faces and voices of victory over cancer and reinforce why we do what we do on a daily basis.

Carrying a powerful testimony of survival and strength, these Global Heroes of Hope can spread the message of hope and courage to cancer Survivors worldwide. These extraordinary people serve as beacons of HOPE to all cancer patients and Survivors in our country.” concludes Joubert.

Congratulations on being selected as a Global Hero of Hope!


South African Alumni Global Heroes of Hope

As new Heroes are selected for the new year, the Heroes of the last year will be known as Alumni Heroes, “Once a Hero, always a Hero“. They will continue to represent CANSA, providing us with  a network of Heroes and a pool of ready speakers and leaders to inspire others.

Meet our Alumni Global Heroes of Hope:


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