Our hero of hope

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Cancer survivor, Leonie  chosen for elite group

EAST Londoner  Leonie Harry has been selected by the American Cancer Society to be a Global Relay for Life Hero of Hope.

VERY PROUD: Leonie Harry is one of four South Africans chosen to be a Global Relay for Life Hero of Hope Picture: QHAMANI LINGANI

She is one of four South Africans to be selected to be Heroes of Hope.

The Global Relay for Life Heroes of Hope are symbols of people’s personal victories over cancer as they encourage, support and participate in Relay for Life and the mission of cancer organisations.

These exemplary cancer survivors are not only willing to share stories of their personal journey with cancer, but are also willing to become a voice for cancer organisations and the work they do in the fight against cancer. “These Heroes of Hope’s leadership and determination helps grow our survivorship programmes, as well as Relay for Life. These heroes have lobbied governments and the United Nations for support, helped make the word ‘survivor’ a celebration of life, and created momentum for local Relay programmes. They are true Heroes,” read an excerpt on the Cansa Relay for Life website.

“Relay for Life welcomes our heroes to the global network of Heroes of Hope who are determined to make a difference in saving lives by sharing their story and leading the way.

“We are grateful for their volunteer efforts and support of the Cancer Association of South Africa. Volunteers like this make a difference in the fight in reducing cancer. Volunteers like these will give those on their cancer journey the opportunity to celebrate more birthdays,” it says.

The Relay for Life is a fun, overnight team event that raises awareness about cancer and raises funds to fight cancer.

During the relay, teams of 10 to 15 people, be it friends, families or co-workers, commit to keeping at least one team member walking the track at all times to show that cancer never sleeps.

Each team member is encouraged to raise a target to support Cansa’s prevention, education, early detection, advocacy and patient care programmes in the region where the relay is being held.

Breast cancer survivor, Harry, said she enjoyed bringing hope to newly-diagnosed patients.

“There is never a day that passes without me talking about cancer.

“This is my passion,” she said.

“I always want to tell people about cancer. I want to bring hope, [to say] that it is going to be all right. In December I was with a group of people when my phone rang. I went to sit in a quiet room.

“When I resurfaced, they asked who I was talking to and I told them I did not know, it was just someone who needed an ear, her mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. “There was no way I wouldn’t take that call,” she said.

“We are truly honoured to have these very special people being selected as our representatives in our country for Cansa and Relay for Life to spread the messages of Hope,” Cansa CEO, Elize Joubert said.

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