CANSA Relay For Life

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Media Release from CANSA: Make Your Mark For Cancer Survivors


Date: 5 May 2012

Att: News Editor

For immediate release

Make Your Mark for Cancer Survivors

The 3rd of June is International Cancer Survivor’s Day and in honour of all cancer survivors, the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) encourages all South Africans to make a statement against cancer and a mark for cancer survivors by signing a special message. CANSA wants to celebrate hope and life with survivors and their families with a special day of hope, support and nurturing by signing special messages on fabric to those who have ever heard the words ‘you have cancer’.

Companies and individuals are invited to go to any CANSA Care Centre and write messages to cancer survivors on fabric with a permanent marker. These pieces of fabric will then be used to create items such as tablecloths, aprons, curtains, bedspreads or pillowcases for use in CANSA’s Care Homes and Centres across the country – ensuring that these messages of hope and support are read by those who receive treatment and care and so desperately need encouragement to go on with the fight. Everyone participating will receive a certificate from CANSA to show they took part. CANSA also encourages the public to post messages of hope online via CANSA’s ‘Champions of Hope’ facebook dedicated to cancer survivors.

“CANSA wants to empower survivors to fight back during their cancer journey,” says Sue Janse Van Rensburg, CANSA’s CEO and a cancer survivor of 28 years. “Although more and more people are surviving cancer thanks to earlier diagnosis and better treatment, the increase in cancer diagnosis also implies that more people are in need of the support of their families and communities.”

The International Relay For Life (RFL) Heroes of Hope is a global cancer survivorship initiative involving the selection of ‘Heroes of Hope’ from across the International Relay participating countries and this year South Africa has three representatives – Kobus Smit (Mosselbay), Obie Woolward (Worcester) and Kedibone Bonoko (Gauteng). Carrying a powerful testimony of survival and strength, these local Heroes of Hope will spread the message of hope and courage to cancer survivors worldwide, serving as beacons of hope to all cancer patients and survivors in our country. As a voice and ambassador of CANSA, they aim to increase awareness of CANSA’s life-changing work, its mission and grow Relay For Life participation (

CANSA’s wide-reaching health programme includes prevention and education campaigns, patient care and support – they continue to help cancer survivors and their family and friends by providing support through stoma and lymphoedema clinics, medical equipment hire, day-care services, support groups and Care Home services.

Van Rensburg concludes, “Our aim is to ensure that cancer survivors and their loved ones don’t have to face cancer alone, we’re here to support them through every step of their cancer journey.”

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA or email:, call 011 616 7662 or cell: 082 459 5230.  Or visit or call CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22, or email:


CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and all people affected by cancer. As a leading role-player in cancer research (more than R6 million spent annually), the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public.

Our wide-reaching health programme includes prevention and education campaigns, CANSA Care Centres that offer stoma and lymphoedema clinics, medical equipment hire, toll-free line and support to children and their families affected by cancer. Patient care and support in the form of 13 CANSA Care Homes and the main metropolitan areas plus one hospitium (based in Polokwane) for out-of-town cancer patients as well as CANSA-TLC Lodging for paediatric oncology parents.

About Relay For Life

Relay For Life is a fun-filled overnight experience (organised  by a volunteer committee) in which teams of participants take turns walking a track overnight in an effort to fight cancer. At more than 70 South African Relay events nationwide, communities celebrate the lives of those who have faced cancer, remember loved ones lost and commit to fight back against the disease. Relay began in USA in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest global movement to end the disease. Each year, communities worldwide in 21 countries (Including South Africa) gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.

Relay For Life begins with a moving Survivors’ Lap. This inspirational lap honours the courage of all who live with cancer. Cancer survivors (anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer) join together to take the opening lap – unified in victory and in hope.  The atmosphere of Relay For Life is one of camaraderie and celebration, providing an opportunity for cancer survivors and caregivers to pass the torch of hope on to those still battling cancer or those that might be touched by cancer in future.


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