Companies help conquer breast cancer

The retail group Foschini is one of the companies that helps PinkDrive keep its educational and clinical trucks on the road. These trucks’ services include women’s health education.

breast cancer pinkdrive truck
It costs R10-million to build one truck. PinkDrive’s monthly running costs are R700,000. PinkDrive’s services include free education on women’s health, mammograms and clinical breast examinations. (Image: Supplied)

Melissa Javan
Henrietta van Kramberg says she should have given up on life when her child died but she didn’t. Instead, following a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2010, she decided to fight back.

The 43-year-old is one of 11 women who are sharing their stories during the Courage to Conquer campaign, taking place in the Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October. The campaign is an initiative by retail group Foschini. It is to build awareness and to fundraise for the organisation, PinkDrive.

She kicked cancer’s butt in six-inch heels, Van Kramberg says. “Giving up is not an option. As a mum if you survive the passing of your child, there’s not much that can get you down.”

Watch Van Kramberg talk about how she motivated herself in her battle against cancer:

Watch Lizelle Knott explain how her son became her motivation to fight cancer:

Lizelle Knott, a 36-year-old, says early detection made a huge difference. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. “If you have a positive attitude, anything can be an adventure,” she says of her journey.

PinkDrive

PinkDrive is known as South Africa’s “breast cancer community carer”, the non-profit organisation says on its website.

It has mobile units which cross three provinces, visiting urban and semi-urban areas, to give people access to mammographies and gynaecological services.

Besides free education on women’s health, the mobile clinics offer free pap smears and clinical examinations, as well as information on how to do breast self-examinations.

Since its launch in 2011, PinkDrive has taught more than 260,000 women about breast health.

Courage to conquer

Naeema Cassimjee, Foschini brand manager, says that in previous years the clothing retailer has partnered with PinkDrive to raise breast cancer awareness and to keep the mammography and educational units of PinkDrive on the road.

“The campaign this year is unique in the sense that we have provided a platform for women from different backgrounds from all over South Africa to share their stories. [They talk about] how they found the courage to conquer breast cancer,” she says.

“The campaign takes a positive approach where we aim to highlight the courage and strength that women have within them.”

The partners approached cancer organisations Look Good, Feel Better; Reach for Recovery; and Cancervive, to ask for volunteers, Cassimjee explains. These volunteers are survivors of breast cancer, and were willing to share their stories with others.

“We received a lot of interest but unfortunately had to eventually cut it down to 11 women.”

She says to support PinkDrive through Courage to Conquer, people can buy breast cancer awareness key rings and Playtex or Foschini branded bras. A portion of the funds raised is donated to PinkDrive.

“A donation to the PinkDrive has also been made by the photographer who shot the Breast Cancer campaign,” Cassimjee says.

To watch the videos of the other cancer survivors telling their stories, visit the Foschini South Africa YouTube channel.

Corporates playing a role

Febe Meyer, PinkDrive spokesperson, says the organisation works with numerous brands, individuals and companies throughout the year to make PinkDrive successful.

“Our major sponsors are the financial contributors Pick n Pay, MTN Foundation, the Bidvest Group and Bridgestone.

“As PinkDrive does not receive any government funding, we are grateful for any corporate or individual that assist the PinkDrive in raising funds. The impact of any amount raised assists PinkDrive to keep our existing mobile units on the road,” she says.

“It also enables us to provide free services to all the medically uninsured people in South Africa.”

One of the fundraising initiatives was the Cell C SA Lingerie Fashion Show held on 6 October 2016 at Canal Walk shopping centre in Cape Town. The aim of the event was to distribute 100 care packs to cancer patients at hospitals in the city.

health services centres breast cancer
The first mobile screening unit of PinkDrive launched in the Western Cape in 2011. It operated through local clinics, community health centres and hospitals. (Image: Supplied)

Meyer says the current PinkDrive fleet consists of three mobile mammography units, one educational truck and five educational vehicles.

Since the organisation’s inception in 2011, more than 10,600 mammograms and more than 102,000 clinical breast examinations have been done.

“It should be noted that currently one unit is doing 20 public sector hospitals’ work in a month! This is a direct ‘report’ of what PinkDrive is doing with all the funding received,” says Meyer.

PinkDrive travels to urban and semi-urban areas throughout South Africa. “We have representation in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”
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