The famous Grey College in Bloemfontein was transformed into a sea of pink earlier this week to mark Cancer Awareness Month.

Multitudes of women, men, girls and boys clad in pink T-shirts thronged the school on 1 November to take part in the Pick n Pay Women’s Walk.

Despite the title of the event, it was open to all members of the community. They came in all shapes, shades and sizes, a mixed masala or potjiekos of cultures, a true reflection of our diverse society.

Traditionally, the month of October has been set aside to raise awareness and educate the nation on issues that relate to breast cancer. The proceeds of the event went to PinkDrive, a breast cancer awareness organisation which provides free breast cancer screening and education around the country.

This year 2 500 people participated, paying between R20 and R40 for registration fees. Last year there were 1 700 participants.

Noelene Kotschan, Director and Founder of PinkDrive, expressed gratitude for the support and said it would enable her organisation to reach out to more communities.

She said her organisation had purchased two 14 tonne trucks which had been converted into Mobile Women’s Health units. The Mammography truck had helped to alleviate pressure on public hospitals and clinics in Gauteng and Western Cape. Her dream was to see each province equipped with one mammography truck and five educational vehicles. She believed this would help make health more accessible to the people of South Africa.

According to Wikepedia, Mammography is the process of using low-energy X-rays to examine the human breast, which is used as a diagnostic and screening tool. The goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer, typically through detection of characteristic masses and/or microcalcifications.

Noelene called on all South Africans to support the work of PinkDrive. She said there was a role for everyone. Sports personalities could compete for the cause, corporates can donate funds and citizens can participate in fundraisers and educational campaigns. She added that fun walks will form an important part of the programme in the future.

The crowd was entertained by singer-guitarist Sharon Sibert aka Sheron, who sent the crowd into a frenzy with his melodious voice and skills on the strings of his guitar. Participants who conquered the 5 kilometer walk were presented with medals and a bag full of goodies courtesy of Pick n Pay, Momentum and FutureLife.
Besides these material possessions, participants also walked away with memorable moments and worthwhile information as indicated by the following comments:

“I learnt that men can get breast cancer too.” – Keamogetwe Mark

“It is important to support such a cause. Next year lam going to encourage my parents to participate in the fun walk.” – Molefe Thamahane

“My R20 can help to support breast cancer awareness.” – Kgato Primary School learner

“I learnt how to examine myself for breast cancer.” – Education Honours student at the University of the Free State

Below are some the pictures that summed up the day: