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Lorraine Verhagen

My name is Lorraine Verhagen and I am 55 years old.  I am married with two children and love the outdoors . I do CrossFit, run and mountain biking. I'm an absolute sucker for punishment.

No pain, no gain.  I am currently employed at Group Editors Company Pty Ltd. I have been at this company since 2010. I am the PA to the Operations Director and Marketing Executive.

I am very involved in the community of George. I am also the current Chairperson for 'CANSA Relay For Life,' George.  

The relay has done exceptionally well in the Southern Cape. We received Global recognition this year, making our Relay the best in the world and I was congratulated during a sitting of the National Council of Provinces for my immense contribution to fighting Cancer.  I am also very involved in charity events organised through the George Herald.

I also received  Rotary's highest meritorious award, the Paul Harris Fellowship award. The Paul Harris Fellowship is the Rotary Foundation's way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution made to humanitarian and educational programmes.

My love for charity work and its people has no boundaries.

Michelle Swindale

In January 2010 I discovered I had breast cancer. It was the worst feeling in the world, as I was convinced that I was going to die and leave my young children behind. My mother-in-law had passed away 10 months prior to breast cancer so I was a nervous wreck. My husband sat me down one day and told me to get myself together for the sake of my children. If I were going to die, did I really want my children to have memories of me as a hermit or someone that gave life the full go-ahead? I chose to give my life the full go-ahead and remained positive. I finally got the all clear in September 2010 and was extremely grateful that I had survived this horrific and traumatic obstacle in my life.

In September 2017, I had the most incredible stomach cramps and decided to go for a checkup. They discovered that had 3 large tumors in my uterus. I was immediately placed on cancer treatment to reduce the size of the tumors. I was on the medication for 3 ½ months and the pain was incredible. Because I was not on Medical Aid, I had to wait for the state hospital to accommodate me and they could only accommodate me in February 2018. By this time, I was weighing 45kgs and could not walk 5 metres without falling over in pain. I eventually found a private gynecologist who took one look at me (this was Friday) and told me I had to be in hospital to be operated on Monday. We made a financial plan and I had my tumors removed on the Monday. Once I came out of theatre (I was in longer than I should have been as there were complications), my gynecologist told my husband that I would not have survived another week.

The second time cancer struck, I knew I could defeat it. I remained positive throughout my treatment and promised myself that it was not going to beat me. I could not have done any of this without my husband, children and my faith in God.

Kathy Malherbe

Occupation: Freelance writer. I graduated from Stellenbosch University with English as a major. After teaching for five years, I started my own communications company.

I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2000 and again in 2010. The biggest lesson I learned from the diagnosis and treatment was the ability to accept the things that are beyond your control and to change the things that are. In 2011, I joined a group of breast cancer survivors riding motorbikes across South Africa. The purpose was not only to raise money but to reach rural communities and talk about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

It is for me the most important message we can give to women (and men). I joined the group again in 2012 as the spokesperson and we again went on a two week trip this time into the KwaZulu Natal area. Our aim was to reach rural communities and teach them how to check for early signs of breast cancer.

My passion is to be able to educate in some way or another so that people who have no access to private healthcare, have the right tools for early detection. Knowledge is empowerment and providing simple steps to detect breast cancer early is a major part of this.

CKP’s ultimate aim is to promote the early detection of breast cancer through self-examination but also to assist people who are going through treatment. Cancer treatment is difficult enough, without having support makes it an impossible hurdle.

My aim within CKP is to use my experience as a teacher and journalist to ensure the messages gets to the right people in the simplest way possible. The message: ‘Early detection can save your life.’

My favourite quote is: 'Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'

CKP has the courage to change things and we will.

Website: kathymalherbe.co.za

Jenny De Oliveira

I come from a Below-The-Line Advertising background, specialising in promotions, experiential marketing, product launches and events. I have worked on many blue-chip brands, with well- known marketers and celebrities in South Africa.

Client’s range from Shell Oil, Caltex, J&B (organised 10 J&B Met’s) , Smirnoff 1818, Red and Black, RTD’s – Smirnoff Ice, Spin, Storm, Archers Aqua, Jose Cuervo– 3 Oppie Koppie Rock Festivals, FIFA World Cup Fan Zone – in my 20 years of working in the industry I have worked on the most incredible products and with amazing people. This is where I have gained my knowledge and experience which I would like to share and continue to build on and this time in an area close to my heart.

I started my own business in 2009 to fill the need/demand for corporate clothing specialists focussing on innovative ways to deliver the product. Corporate Clothing representing the intricacies of client’s brands, through fashionable styles and new branding techniques.

In 2012, my partner and I developed a concept after doing a charity breast cancer drive in urban and rural areas.  It opened my eyes to a much bigger need in South Africa although it was a few years ago, I have not been able to shed this calling and wanted to get more involved and support other NPO’s and individuals who have the same drive.

My motivation, inspiration and determination has come from family and friends who are fighting cancer and those who have lost the battle.  My 1st hand experience with cancer is when my mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer and how it still affects her today.

The combination of all my business and personal experience has brought me to this valuable point in life –translating my passion in both spheres to make a difference in people’s lives. One day at a time.

My vision behind the Check Know Prevent Range - launching - with our hero product the bra is:

Early detection of cancer saves lives - so know your body

Education is key, so we demonstrate how to do self-examination. The bra will serve as a constant reminder to check and encourage women to start at a young age.

By knowing your body, you will identify symptoms and be aware of and what to do next should you find any changes in your breasts.

So not only are you purchasing an item that is of benefit to you but simultaneously helping the community. Profits and donations will be utilised to assist people and families suffering from cancer who need on the ground care.

Bringing all this together requires people - we have kept our manufacturing local and through South African’s support, we will be able to create employment and teach the skill of making bra’s.

A psychologist once said to me FEAR, REJECTION & RESCUING is my downfall – RESCUING is in my nature and that will never change however the important lesson is to ensure that I rescue the right people to take their hand and help them overcome their difficulties and fears.  I have taken this advice and have made the decision in dedicating my time turning fear into fuel and rescuing as my calling.

Tiny Buddha says Fear is:

“An opportunity for self-discovery and self-growth; a well of untapped personal power and strength; the gateway from wishing and wanting to doing and being.”

Mother Teresa, my superwoman, dedicated her life to rescuing:

“It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.” – Mother Teresa

Jenny De Oliveira quote:

“Being humble in life means knowing that we are not on earth to see how momentous we can become, but how we make a difference in the lives of others.”


Roland Jonathan

My 19-years in sales and marketing has led me along interesting and exciting path, that has certainly driven my entrepreneurial spirit, my ability to work individually as well as being part of and managing a team. The latter part of my Brandhouse experience has opened my working experience to working on both local and international brands. The local brand particularly exposed me to regular engagement cross functionally and particularly with the board of directors. This stood me in good stead for my future endeavours with global brands as well as along my entrepreneurial ventures. The competencies that I achieved across Above, Through and Below the line communication, classic brand marketing, digital marketing, mobile technology and international marketing management, were indispensible. I also have strong sales, trade marketing, key account management and CRM background. All of these roles performed at both representative as well managerial levels.

 

Working for multinational groups such as BAT, SAB, Heineken, Brandhouse and Diageo has given me the insights and practical experience to operate at a level of excellence within the corporate organizational environment. It has also allowed me access to the market dynamics and insights, both locally, regionally across Africa and internationally. Having operated in both the sales and marketing environments has also further exposed me to both sales and marketing training programmes, which balanced my strategic, operational and financial outlooks and expectations for both short term brand performance and strategic and business objectives. I embarked on a journey of entrepreneurship in 2011, which led me down a different path of understanding and appreciation of the principles of Business.

 

At the end of 2014, I was struck by a devastating blow. I was diagnosed with stage 4 follicular lymphoma. I had been walking with a tumour for 2 years, which eventually measured 18cm across x 11cm deep x 15cm high at the time of my diagnosis. This was because it had not shown any visible signs or any of the usual “cancer” symptoms. I thought that this was the end of my life. Well it certainly was the end of my life as I knew it. This opened up a whole new meaning of life for me. I learnt more about myself in this short space of time than I ever learnt in the preceding years. In April 2015, I had a stem cell transplant. I did all the research that I could about it, but at no stage was there any information about what happens after you are discharged from the isolation ward. It took me a full 2 years after, to recover to some state of normality (which is not abnormal). Whilst this process was happening, I decided that I want to actively get involved with giving back and educating people about the cancer journey.

 

In 2018, in steps Jenny De Oliviera, back in to my life. She proposed this amazing opportunity with Check Know Prevent. This brand encompasses all that I am looking for, in my vision of giving back and sharing my cancer journey. The vision and mission of Check Know Prevent, ideally aligns with my vision for giving back. The one thing that I have learnt, through my journey with all due respect, is that as great as the oncologist or the haematologists may be, unless they have experienced chemotherapy, they can tell you what the physiological expected outcomes are, but they will not be able to talk you through the psychological or physical impact the journey will have on you. 

 

I had 2 mantras through this journey, for the first half it was “I will fight, I will stay strong, I will survive” and the second part of and going forward “I have survived because the fires inside me, burnt brighter than the fires around me”. I have seen people lose the fight, not only because they give up, but because they don’t necessarily know or understand what they are going through or need to do for themselves, and this is what I want to share with people who think that cancer will never affect them, current cancer sufferers, as well as the people that become caregivers to cancer sufferers, as these are the people that are often overlooked during the journey.

 

Check Know Prevent, adequately covers all of these aspects. Education around early detection, support whilst going through the process, as well as support for care givers and families that are challenged by cancer.


Velisa Sishuba

Velisa Sishuba is another (all cancer fighters should be seen as heros on our website)true hero in the fight against cancer. At only 21, this remarkable young woman, who describes herself as a two-time cancer survivor, has already been on a long journey with the disease, starting when she was in her teens. She is currently a second-year journalism student at the University of Rhodes and her special passionsare the arts, people, music, dance, piano and helping other people.

Her battle with cancer began in 2014, when she was only 17 and was diagnosed with angiosarcoma, a rare cancer in which the cancer grows within the blood vessels and can move to any part of the body — in her case, the breast. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 she had numerous surgeries to remove the tumour and had reconstruction on both breasts after a mastectomy and a reduction of the remaining breast.

Then, in 2017, there was recurrence of the angiosarcoma, this time to the side of her back, and she to undergo surgery again. I this case, however, she also had to go through a three-month course of chemotherapy and, shortly thereafter a month and 10 days of radiation.

“It has been an extremely long road for me but, by God's grace I am still here, I am alive and the blood of Jesus has healed me,” she says.

V, as her friends call her, explains that most people don’t realise that on the long journey with cancer, it's not just about having surgery and getting chemicals put into your body while you keep moving on. It’s that it is all such a slow process and that trying to keep a smile on your face can be the most excruciating thing of all.

She continues to pay tribute to the Check Know Prevent organisation and stresses that what they stand for is extraordinary. Along with many others, they are trying to bring cancer and the underbelly of issues that ordinary people struggle with to the fore.

This is why, V says, she is dedicated to really helping people to deal with cancer, as it is important that not only the patient, but every single person involved in the process, is given the tools and the space to cope and vent their frustrations , as well as too educate themselves on how to resolve the issue together.

She stresses how important it is to check ourselves regularly for any signs or symptoms of cancer in spite of our fears and also to know how to deal with it, as well as to do all we can to prevent it.

“Without God I don't know where I'd be physically, mentally, emotionally and, of course, spiritually. It is incredible how much I've had to overcome, but also how many blessings and special people I’ve encountered along the way. It’s been a tough lesson to experience, but one that has taught me so much about myself and life and I’m especially grateful to Check Know Prevent for all that it does,” V says.

If you want to know more about V and her journey with cancer, look out for the next chapters of her story, which will be appearing on our website soon.

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