South African Lymphoma Media Awareness Breakfast a resounding success!

“Life is like a coin. You can spend it any which way you wish, but you only spend it once“

“I remember it just like yesterday when the doctor broke the news to us. In my heart I yelled out to the Lord, asking why me? I was achieving good grades at school, had just been elected as Deputy Head Boy. Something I had always dreamt about, then it all came crashing down, all my hopes were dashed and my dreams had to wait“.  This was 15-year old Kagiso Itumeleng Nkuna’s personal story that he shared at the South African Lymphoma Media Awareness Breakfast that took place at the Protea Wanderers Hotel on the 14th of September 2011.

The ultimate aim of the event was to bring about a better understanding of the “I am the Voice of Lymphoma” campaign which is proudly endorsed by Roche Products (Pty) Ltd, in partnership with CHOC, Faces of Hope, Sunflower Fund, Campaigning for Cancer and the KZN Lymphoma Support Group.

Celebrities such as the well known South African stand up comedian Kevin Perkins better known to his fiercly loyal fan base as Michael Naiker had members of the media, NGO’s, fellow lymphoma survivors and their respective supporters in stitches of laugher as he recounted his lymphoma cancer journey some 19 years ago and the profound effect that it had on his life in both a positive and a negative sense, and how it crafted him to be who he is today.

Other celebrities included the former Springbok Rugby  hooker Chris Rossouw, who relayed his personal journey and how important it is for an accurate diagnosis to be made upfront and to get treatment immediatley, and how he was supported through his journey by fellow Springbok Rugby players. He  stressed how important it is, apart from getting the correct diagnosis and timeous treatment from qualified medical practitioners, that you have the support of your family and friends and when days are dark and hope is far from a reality, that these people can help bring you back from the brink of hopelessness and dispair.

Key note speaker and campaign advocate Dr. Devan Moodley, in his informative and hard hitting presentation stressed that this is a highly treatable and managable disease through chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies.  Some types of lymphoma are even curable he said.

The theme, “I am the Voice of Lymphoma”  will profile survivors of the disease and promote a better understanding of how to manage and treat the disease and instil a sense of hope.  Over a million people worldwide live with lymphoma and nearly 1,000 people are diagnosed with cancer  every day. Lymphoma does not discriminate on the basis of gender, age, financial status or cultural background.

The 15th of September 2011, marks the 8th anniversary of World Lymphoma Awareness Day! It is a global initative to bring about awareness of lymphomas. It was initially launched in 2004 and is now an established date in the global health calendar. World Lymphoma Awareness Day provides a focus for all concerned health care professionals and patients to join forces in a united campaign to inform the public about lymphoma,  early warning signs/symptoms and how it has affected the lives of millions of people around the world.

Members of the public and media are encouraged to visit the Facebook page –“ I am the Voice of Lymphoma” and help spread the word that early detection and the appropriate treatment is readily available. There is hope for lymphoma patients.

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