Give your time to CHOC this Mandela Day

Photo: Supplied Nicola Hlongwane, a cancer survivor, feels that CHOC represents far more than just a place to eat and sleep.


This Mandela Day on 18 July, CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa is calling companies and individuals to make a change.

They can do this by donating cash or items to the foundation or by giving 67 minutes of their time to the foundation’s 12 accommodation facilities which are close to childhood cancer treatment centres across the country.

Last year, in addition to other support programmes, CHOC accommodation facilities offered more than 13 000 bed nights to children and their caregivers during their intensive treatment period that can last up to three years.

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Being situated close to the paediatric oncology treatment centres, the foundation’s accommodation facilities provide a home away from home to children and families coming from the feeder areas of these hospitals, which extends from metropolitan to remote rural areas throughout the country.

The foundation also provides transport to and from the hospitals for these families. This assists in alleviating the emotional and financial toll that cancer takes on many families.

In developed countries, childhood cancer has become largely curable with the overall survival rate reaching between 70 per cent and 80 per cent whereas in South Africa the rate is only at about 50 per cent. The foundation aims to improve this rate through its early detection awareness training which affords early diagnosis enabling a better chance of being cured and that the survival rate increases.

Nicola Hlongwane, a cancer patient who stayed at a CHOC house, said the house was far more than just a place to eat and sleep.

“I remember the beginning, so clearly. It was towards the end of Grade 9. I was participating in everything that my high school could offer, I was healthy,” said Hlongwane.

She was diagnosed with Stage 2 germ cell ovarian cancer and underwent chemotherapy for three months. She has been in remission since April 2011.

“It was a short encounter with the dreaded disease, but my world was completely thrown upside down,” added Hlongwane.

“While I was receiving treatment, my parents and I stayed at the CHOC house in Pretoria which came to represent more than just a free place to sleep and eat. The house parents at CHOC house were of great help to my parents.”

She said the house parents were a fountain of hope, knowledge and a sense of direction. “Beyond the financial consequences, the terminology you have never heard of, blood tests and scans, a family is just never fully prepared for the journey that lies ahead. It was the one place where I was free to take off my wig, and still feel absolutely normal.”

For more information on how you can donate to CHOC visit or call 086 111 3500

Tell us how you are going to commemorate Mandela Day on WhatsApp 079 439 5345.

Staff Reporter

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