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03/03/2017: MMC supports cyclists in fight against cancer
03 March 2017
City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Councillor Mpho Phalatse this morning (Friday March 3) gave a group of cyclists heartfelt well-wishes as they set off on 1 400km "Tour of Light" to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

“We hope that the purpose of this tour will help many cancer sufferers to be able to stand, fight and overcome the disease,” Cllr Phalatse said at Grasmere Toll Plaza, where the tour to Cape Town kicked off.

“We hope that everywhere you go, you will heal [people]. Our wish and our prayers as you go into the hospitals is that you will be the light igniting fire in every cancer patient of South Africa.”

Councillor Phalatse said what the riders were embarking on was "brave and symbolic" as they would expose themselves to different weather patterns.

“No one day is the same as the other. At times, you never know what is coming.
Your destiny is also very symbolic because you finish at a lighthouse, which is a place of hope. We hope that when you come out victorious at other end, it will give cancer patients more hope,” she said.

When the Tour of Light started, it was only aimed at reaching out to cancer patients who had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

“But this year, we have decided to reach out to all cancer sufferers,” Cecilia Hiemstra, founder of the campaign, said.

Hiemstra, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in July 2015, said she kept the faith.

“I was initially told I had only three weeks to live. But it has now been 18 months since the doctors told me that. I spent weeks in hospitals, lost all my hair and could barely walk. My new friends were other patients who were filled with the same fear as I was. Today, we are going to spread light and hope to cancer overcomers and salute their caregivers when we cycle for eight days through South Africa, she said.

Hiemstra’s husband, Tak, is also a cancer survivor after undergoing a successful stem cell transplant procedure.

The money is raised through a gala dinner at the end of the tour and will be donated to Cancer Association of South Africa.
To date, the tour has raised R200 000 to be used for cancer education and providing cancer caregivers with assistance. The tour includes visits to hospitals and cancer treatment centres.

When the cyclists arrive in Cape Town, they will be joined at the finish line at Caffe Ne, opposite the light house in Sea Point, by other cyclists who have overcome cancer.

Johannesburg residents are encouraged to get free cancer screening at the City's clinics.

“We do screenings for both women and men. We need to pick the cancer early, before it advances. People must be proactive in taking measure to prevent this disease,” Councillor Phalatse concluded.

ENDS

Issued by the City of Johannesburg

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