Category Archives: News & Events
Kids Kicking Cancer is an initiative that was started in America in 1999 by
Founding Director, Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg (Rabbi G), and began providing classes in several public hospitals in South Africa earlier this year.
Last Tuesday was the Official Johannesburg launch and Wednesday was the Official Cape Town launch, which I was privileged to attend, and hear firsthand about what the program offers as well as meet Rabbi G, Professor Alan Davidson, Head of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Chairperson Dr Richard Friedland, and other Board Members; the two wonderful people working with our little fighters, Ilze van der Merwe in Cape Town and Moses Sebopa in Johannesburg, and of course, our Little Heroes from Cape Town; Hayden, Monalisa and Ferdi.
We think this is a FANTASTIC program that will benefit our Little Fighters greatly, and we encourage all parents of Children with Cancer to get their little fighters registered on the program.
A few weeks ago the Little Fighters Cancer Trust was contacted by Hettie Denysschen from Harcourts Winelands, who had found out about the work that we do with Children with Cancer and their Families via social media, and had selected LFCT as a beneficiary.
We spoke a few times over the following weeks and the more Hettie found out about us the more Harcourts was committed to helping, which we of course were very happy about as it has been a very long and hard year and we are always in need of funding so that we can better serve our beneficiaries.
This culminated in an invitation to attend the Harcourts/Optimum Charity Golf Day Dinner on Friday night at the beautiful Pearl Valley Golf Course… and of course Lizelma and I accepted with alacrity.
Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer that affects around 100 children the UK annually.
Neuroblastoma is also one of the most common childhood cancers in South Africa, and it can be very aggressive and hard to treat.
In early 2017, Luke Bell from Darlington began falling asleep in his school lessons, prompting his worried parents to rush him to the doctor.
Mark and Becky Bell thought their son may have had anaemia but it never crossed their minds that he would be diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer – just days later.
The shock diagnosis which left the family devastated marked the beginning of a year of extended hospital stays and gruelling treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.
At the end of April, Luke was in the final stages of treatment and enduring what was believed to be his last round of immunotherapy when the Bells were given the devastating news that their little boy had relapsed, with scans showing a progression of his illness.
Childhood Cancer is a global scourge! There is, however one MASSIVE difference – In rich countries, 80% of children with diseases like Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia(ALL) survive. In many poor countries, 80% die.
While high-income countries such as the USA and Britain have made tremendous strides against A.L.L. and other similar childhood cancers, those gains have not trickled down to low- and middle-income countries, many of which simply don’t have the resources to treat complex diseases.
This inversion of mortality rates marks one of the greatest health disparities in the world, according to the World Health Organisation, which convened a meeting at the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the issue on 28 September, 2018.
“With childhood leukemia, the single biggest predictor of whether you recover or not is where you happen to have been born,” says Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, executive vice president of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and chairman of its global pediatric medicine department. “We’re talking about many thousands of young children dying every single year of diseases that we have known how to cure for decades.”
It seems that the underlying assumption of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which seeks to force the public and private health systems into a hasty marriage, is that throwing money at the current Health Department Crisis will resolve all problems.
In actual fact, nothing could be further from the truth, and in retrospect, the NHI could cause even MORE problems as Key Medical Personnel such as doctors, anaesthesiologists, etc. are vulnerable to leave South Africa should the Bill be passed.
One problem is that the NHI Bill centralises too much power in the hands of the health minister and does not clarify how the scheme will be governed. The current problems that the Health Sector is facing is due to a lack of governance which has led to poor management of every aspect of public health – finances, human resources, procurement and maintenance – this one of the biggest weaknesses of the sector.
More money in the system will not remedy this. It will simply provide incompetent and corrupt managers with bigger budgets to burn.
A medical brain drain could be a consequence of the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill and the National Health Insurance Bill gazetted last week, says a Sunday Times report.
Experts believe many doctors would reject the planned charging cap and some warned that the changes would drive doctors to emigrate, leaving the health sector worse off.
But there was guarded support, too, for the concept, if not the detail. The Board of Healthcare Funders of Southern Africa expressed its support of the NHI, but said it would “continue to engage the minister around a practical and judicious approach to the NHI”.
The legislation was gazetted last week for comment by South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
Under the NHI Bill, the health insurance fund would be the biggest purchaser of health services in South Africa and consumers would have to contribute to it. The Bill proposes price controls in the private sector: “The fund may withdraw the accreditation of a service provider if the service provider . . . fails to adhere to the national pricing regimen for services delivered.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs’ new report, Time to Deliver, called for urgent action against chronic diseases and mental disorders, the globe’s leading cause of death and ill-health, but failed to include a recommendation on taxing sugary beverages.
Sugar and in particular sugar sweetened beverages are “leading drivers of the obesity epidemic”, said chief executive officer of the global advocacy group the NCD Alliance Katie Dain.
Obesity significantly raises the risk of developing many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and, said Dain, alone, “is estimated to claim at least four million lives each year”.
The report on NCDs, which are chronic non-infectious conditions including cancer, diabetes and mental disorders, aims to galvanise action to stem the death and disease-toll caused by the rise in these diseases. The WHO Independent High-level Commission on NCDs, which produced the report, was convened in 2017 to advise WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the action needed to accelerate progress in the fight against NCDs.
The Comrades Marathon, aka The Ultimate Human Race, is an ultramarathon of approximately 89 km (approx. 55 miles) which is run annually in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It is the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon race. The direction of the race alternates each year between the “up” run (87 km) starting from Durban and the “down” run (now 90.184 km) starting from Pietermaritzburg.
The race was the idea of World War I veteran Vic Clapham, to commemorate the South African soldiers killed during the war. Clapham, who had endured a 2,700-kilometre route march through sweltering German East Africa, wanted the memorial to be a unique test of the physical endurance of the entrants. The constitution of the race states that one of its primary aims is to “celebrate mankind’s spirit over adversity”.
The spirit of the Comrades Marathon is said to be embodied by attributes of camaraderie, selflessness, dedication, perseverance, and ubuntu, and this is borne out every year by those who run, those who support and those who cheer!
On Saturday night Lizelma and I were privileged to attend the Little Miss & Mr Winelands 2018 Competition as the Little Fighters Cancer Trust was the beneficiary on the night, and what a wonderful, sparkling, professional, fun evening it was.
Young ladies and gentlemen from all over the Winelands took part and strutted their stuff on the stage – we were just very pleased that we were not asked to be judges as they had an enormous task ahead of them – but they acquitted themselves very well.
It was such fun to watch the little ones, the young ladies were all decked out in their finest gowns and the gentlemen were decked out in their fines too, bow ties and all [ Lizelma wanted to take one or two home with her…. 😉 ]