Cancer is a complex, life-threatening disease that affects millions of South Africans. It leads to emotional, physical and financial difficulties for those suffering from cancer, and impacts heavily on families. The First Aid Committee organised Cancer Awareness Week to inform the pupils about the illness and ways that they can help.
The week began with an inspiring and insightful talk by Catherine Hermans who shared her cancer story and gave advice on how to support loved ones with cancer. MADD designed a memorial tree on which pupils and staff could hang cards containing messages to family or friends affected by cancer.
Interact held a Sprayathon at which pupils - and some staff members - could get their hair sprayed crazy colours, and the week closed with a civvies day to raise funds for the CANSA foundation. CANSA funds research related to lowering cancer risk, educates the public regarding symptoms, does screening and risk reduction, and provides care and support to all people affected.
Besides raising awareness, First Aid wanted to inform the Westerfordians of how to help. One of the simplest things you can do is donate blood as cancer patients often have to rely on blood transfusions. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments damage cells in the bone-marrow that manufacture blood and platelets, causing a deficiency, and surgeries may also lead to blood-loss. Becoming an organ donor and bone marrow donor are some of the other easy ways to make a difference.
Thank you to First Aid, MADD and Interact and all those involved for hosting such an educational and inspiring week.
Sarah Woolard, Grade 12