Crowdfunding campaign aims to

Ray Cassiem with Reyaan Van Der Westhuizen

Crowdfunding campaign aims to launch free cancer support for isiXhosa speakers

Over 14 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Crowdfunding campaign aims to

Ray Cassiem with Reyaan Van Der Westhuizen

Cancer Buddies is a free buddy support network that offers support to over 100 000 South Africans diagnosed with the disease annually. It was established to offer support and empowerment to patients, caregivers and family members.

Over fifteen years, Cancer Buddies NPC has built up a wealth of knowledge that offers one-on-one support, practical advice and guidance to people affected by the disease.

“What makes Cancer Buddies so unique is that newly diagnosed cancer patients are matched with survivors trained to offer support and guidance. This enables cancer patients and their loved ones alike to come to terms with their cancer journey without feeling isolated and overwhelmed,” says Brett Simpson of Cancer Buddies who was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma cancer in 2007.

“The landscape of how we cope with and heal through cancer today is changing tremendously quickly, thanks to new & groundbreaking science in psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics and the placebo effect, which speak to how our emotions and thinking affect our physical bodies,” says Simpson.

“Like so many others, the impact of my cancer diagnosis was an emotional and psychological rollercoaster. For the first time in my life I was faced with the fear of death and more surprisingly, my fear of wholehearted living,” he continues.

“When I had the opportunity to meet with a cancer survivor, someone who understood my fears, insecurities and my specific cancer, because they had walked in my shoes, it changed my perspective. I then understood that ‘cancer’ doesn’t mean death and I was able to shift my negative thoughts and nurture the hope I had left and use it to heal.”

Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s centenary and Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, the Cancer Buddies team has created a campaign on donation-based crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy, to raise R100 000 to extend their service offering to the isiXhosa community.

In analysing the limited resources cancer patients currently have at their disposal, the team was unsettled to realize that cancer support organisations predominately only cater to English and Afrikaans speakers.

According to census data from 2011, in South Africa, the isiXhosa speaking community consists of over 8.15 million individuals.

“As a non-profit organisation dealing with Cancer, a disease that affects one in four South Africans in one way or another, we have a responsibility to bridge the language gap and branch out to lower income areas who could use our support,” says Simpson.

“With the funds raised from our BackaBuddy campaign, we will be able to employ, retired oncology nurse Marta Booi for 12 months to answer our Toll-free helpline in Xhosa, translate our website, adapt our social media strategy to include both English and Xhosa content. The funds will also keep Cancer Buddies operational for the next four months.”

Watch: How you can help

The campaign launched this month and has thus far raised over R13 000 towards their goal of R100 000.

Donate to this campaign by donating on BackaBuddy here.