Hundreds of golfers across KwaZulu-Natal teamed up with Sanlam in its drive to fight cancer by supporting the Sanlam Cancer Challenge club competitions in the province last month.
Nearly 2 000 golfers from 42 golf clubs entered the Men’s and Women’s Club Competitions to support the country’s biggest amateur charity drive.
Whether it was in the bigger cities or small towns, Sanlam Financial Adviser Robbie Nel said that this year’s turnout again underlined the importance the Sanlam Cancer Challenge has played in South Africa for the last 20 years.
“I’ve been hosting Men’s and Women’s competitions for the Sanlam Cancer Challenge for six years now at Kokstad, Maratiele and Harding Golf Clubs and our competitions have always been well supported,” said Nel. “That was again the case this year, with a very good turnout at each venue.”
The Sanlam Cancer Challenge has been dedicated to raising awareness and supporting research into cancer prevention for the last 20 years and has raised millions of Rands for the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA).
The nationwide amateur tournament drew 37 000 golfers from 800 club qualifying competitions last year and that number is expected to increase substantially as support for this year’s Sanlam Cancer Challenge continues to mount.
Nel said the numbers in KwaZulu-Natal are climbing and added that while the province has always rallied behind the Sanlam Cancer Challenge, he is noticing a definite shift in the focus of the challenge in the last few years.
“The Sanlam Cancer Challenge has always been well supported, but the focus has shifted in the last couple of years from just having a great time and qualifying for the National Final to the real issue at hand, which is to raise funds in the fight against and prevention of cancer,” he explained.
“Cancer has become so prevalent in our society. It’s no longer a taboo word, because we all know someone who has been affected by cancer or in many cases, cancer has touched our lives directly. That’s why the Sanlam Cancer Challenge goes from strength to strength.”
CHANGE IN MOOD
Nel said that the mood at the club competitions has also changed.
“We used to find that people didn’t want to discuss cancer, the real reason we were having the competitions. But these days, people freely discuss their issues with cancer, they offer each other support, exchange advice and feel good knowing that they have, in a small way, contributed to fighting cancer.”
Sanlam Sponsorship Manager, Gary van Loggerenberg, welcomed the support and said that it bodes well in terms of reaching a target of R3-million this year.
“We have raised more than R26-million for CANSA since the inception of the Sanlam Cancer Challenge in 1993,” he said.
“With the kind of support that we have received so far this year, we are cautiously optimistic to reach our 2012 target and further assist CANSA with research into the disease and the treatment thereof.”
The Sanlam Cancer Challenge’s nationwide club competitions run from March to July, followed by the Regional Finals from August to September, and culminating in the Finals at Sun City on both the Gary Player Country Club and Lost City Golf Club courses in October.