The University of the Western Cape (UWC) has joined the Pink Trees for Pauline initiative to create awareness about breast cancer.
Several trees on campus, including those at the Life Sciences and Future Innovation Lab buildings, have been wrapped in pink fabric for October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), other than non-melanoma skin cancer, “breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in South Africa with a lifetime risk of 1 in 27 according to the 2019 National Cancer Registry”.
Pink Trees for Pauline is an organisation started by Carol-Ann van Jaarsveldt. Her mother and grandmother - both named Pauline - died from breast cancer. She started wrapping trees in pink in her hometown of Graaff-Reinet to “communicate the legacy of these two women”.
She joined forces with breast cancer survivor Adri van Nieuwenhuizen and Dr Pam Kerr to establish the organisation.
Pink fabric can be purchased from the organisation, and 80% of the funds will go towards various initiatives, including accommodation during cancer treatment, home nursing, and wigs.
When cancer survivor Eloise Braaf, from the School of Pharmacy, heard about the organisation, she immediately jumped into action and roped in her husband, Andre Braaf.
“She lost her father, sister and mother to cancer. Her brother also had cancer, and his leg was amputated, but he is still alive. For us, it was tough as six years ago we became the parents of a premature baby born at 26 weeks and weighing only 500g. Our son needs special care and a lot of attention so battling cancer and seeing to a child with special needs is not easy. I am very proud of my wife,” said Andre, who is from the Medical Biosciences Department.
After getting the green light from the university, the couple started draping the trees on campus and managed to raise R4500 for the organisation.