THE Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) hosted its 14th annual Cansa Shavathon campaign at malls across the country on Saturday and Sunday and is hosting events at various workplaces from Monday this week, to tomorrow.
The Shavathon shows solidarity – or support – for cancer patients as losing one’s hair is a common side-effect of cancer treatment. Shavathon participants show support by donating a fee to shave or colour-spray hair – with some using fun stencil designs of a cancer ribbon, paw prints, footprints, handprints, a teddy bear and a funky animal print design.
The donation amounted to R50 for adults and R25 for children under-12, with an amount of R3900 raised at Hemingways Mall on Saturday.
“The money is used to continue with Cansa’s unique, integrated service and the holistic care and support to those affected by cancer, as well as educating the public [from kindergarten level to corporate wellness days] on risk reduction as cancer is very much a lifestyle disease,” Cansa Community Mobiliser for Fund Development, Jenny Edwards, says. The Cansa Shavathon is one of South Africa’s best-loved events in support of a very worthy cause and shaving your head has become a symbolic gesture of support for cancer survivors.
Cansa head of sustainability, Maria Scholtz said: “Shavathon provides the opportunity to give back, by raising funds for cancer patient, care and support programmes through shaving or spraying, or by making a hair donation for wigs and to show solidarity with those battling cancer, or whose loved ones are fighting cancer. It’s also a time to remember and honour those who have lost the battle.
“One of the aims is to reach more people, create awareness about Cansa support services, cancer prevention and early detection programmes,” divisional co-ordinator for service delivery in the Eastern Cape, Vuvu Gqibithole said.
Shavathon supporter, George Botha who has been shaving his head for the past 11 years, said: “It is a great initiative and I challenge everyone to join and shave for a good cause. I will be doing it for as long as I’m around, hopefully for the next 20 years. The more people support the initiative, the better”.
Many workplaces, organisations and educational institutions decide to host their own Shavathons in order to raise awareness and funds for the cancer cause.