Breast cancer survivors hold fund-raiser

Ashlin Tandy, from Heinz Park, Rania Treurnicht, Kelsey Maarman, both from Lentegeur, and Ashleigh Hendricks, from Westridge.

A Colorado Park mother of two went from having clear results following a mammogram in March to having stage-3 breast cancer about six months later.

Renée Williams, 43, had lost her mother to breast cancer in August 2018.

As a local clinic nurse who had supported her mother through her struggle with cancer, she knew her monthly self examination was vital for early detection and treatment.

Ms Williams said her nipple had been retracted and her breast had had a big dimple.

“I am a nurse and because of my mother’s history there was a possibility that I may have it,” she said.

Ms Williams spoke to the Plainsman at an exercise fund-raiser held at Westridge Gardens on Saturday in aid of the Cancer Association of South Africa.

Fitness instructors Jason Hendricks, Wendy Solomon, Anthony Hicks and Bevil Lakay put the participants through their paces with stretches, bootcamp, exercises and Zumba.

Ms Williams said she had been doing Zumba classes with Mr Lakay and had been fit at the time of her diagnosis in September last year.

Being fit, she said, had helped her heal faster.

“If you are fit, then your body can fight the cancer,” she said.

She had a chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and then radiation.

Ms Williams is still receiving treatment to keep the cancer at bay.

“I lost all of my hair as a side-effect of the chemotherapy,” she

said.

Having a good support structure and positive attitude were necessary to keep healthy, she said.

Her husband had to take care of the children, the household and his work, she said.

Ms Williams said her faith and hope in God had carried her through her journey.

“You must have some kind of faith to get through a journey like this,” she said.

Ruth Francis, 56, from Beacon Valley, who lost her daughter, Dominique Thomas, 36, to cancer in June, said at first they had not wanted to accept her diagnosis.

Ms Thomas was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and with brain cancer earlier this year.

She had both her breasts removed, underwent radiotherapy on her womb and was wheelchair bound for several months.

Ms Francis said she had motivated her daughter to never to give up.

“She exercised and ate healthily to fight her way out of the wheelchair about a year before she died; she was able to do spiritual dance,” she said.

Ms Francis said they had shared a love for exercise and the outdoors, which had kept them motivated and active.

  • The exercise fund-raiser was held to raise money for the 2021 CANSA Relay For Life Mitchell’s Plain. It is a celebration of cancer survivorship and presence in communities.

For more information, call Saadiqa Abrahams at 061 494 1413 or email saadiqaabrahams04@gmail.com