Concert for breast cancer survivors

Clockwise, from front, left, are Michelle Pretorius, Shanaaz de Klerk, Zeenat Dawod, Rashaad Voegt, Samantha Rustin and Lydia Alexander.

Artists will use their talents to raise funds for breast cancer survivors at a show entitled Cape Town Cares.

The show, on Sunday April 23, is an initiative of the RV Foundation, which adopted the Bridgetown-based Breast Care Foundation, which helps provide underprivileged women who survived breast cancer with prostheses and food parcels.

The Breast Care Foundation was started by Lydia Alexander four years ago, after she had to have a mastectomy at the age of 44.

“Early detection saved my life. I went to the doctor shortly after discovering a lump in my breast, and after some tests, it was confirmed that it was the early stages of cancer. I did not need chemotherapy or radiation because it was detected early.

“While I was at Groote Schuur Hospital recovering from my operation, I saw other women who had also lost their breasts. Some older women are okay with only having one breast, but younger women might not be.

Also, not everybody wants to undergo breast reconstruction surgery, as this is another operation. I didn’t want to have it myself. It was while in hospital, that I decided to open a non-profit organisation to help others,” Ms Alexander said.

Another concern she had, was that many women who had to undergo mastectomies at state hospitals, were unemployed. So, in addition to giving the women an alternative to breast reconstruction surgery, Ms Alexander decided to give the women a food parcel in addition to a prosthesis.

For now, she only works with women who had mastectomies at Groote Schuur Hospital. And since the establishment of the organisation, they have helped more than 300 women.

The money that the Breast Care Foundation raises is used to buy prostheses from Reach for Recovery, which imports them.

Said Ms Alexander: “My vision is that I would like to make the prostheses myself, and train other breast cancer survivors to make them as well. In this way, we can create employment. I am currently in discussions with a breast cancer survivor from America, who will be teaching me how to make it.

“The problem we have at the moment, is that we are waiting on stock to arrive from abroad. If we make it ourselves, we would not have these challenges. We would like to extend our services to all hospitals, but in order for us to do that, we need lots more help.”

The Breast Care Foundation has four telemarketers who appeal to businesses to support their initiative. They also raise funds by selling goods, and they also do door-to-door appeals.

The RV Foundation is the brainchild of Rashaad Voegt, the lead singer of The Boyz, who is assisted by five women.

The RV Foundation adopted the Breast Care Foundation, and the upcoming show is hoped to be the first of many similar shows to raise funds for non-profit organisations, churches, mosques and schools.

“Our focus is to support humanity through the arts. No matter what language you are singing in, you can still reach out to different people at once. Music is also very therapeutic. It’s the universal language,” Mr Voegt said.

The Cape Town Cares show takes place at the Joseph Stone Auditorium on Sunday April 23, will feature Wayne Mckay, The Boyz, Niesa Abrahams, Duende, Sumaya Hendricks, former SA’s Got Talent winner, James Bhemgee, Kurt Langeveld and Krista Jones. The three-hour show starts at 3pm, and doors will open from 2pm. Tickets are R120 each.

For tickets, call 074 474 7758 or 084 884 7931. Organisations or institutions who would like to collaborate with RV Foundation for fundraisers, can call Zeenat Dawood at 078 827 0516.