CANSA Relay For Life

Celebrate
Remember
Fight Back

Honouring Our Heroes

The Global Relay For Life Heroes of Hope are symbols of personal victories over cancer as they encourage, support and participate in Relay For Life and the mission of the cancer organisations. These exemplary cancer Survivors are not only willing to share the story of their own personal cancer journey, but are also willing to become a voice for cancer organisations and the life saving work they do in the fight against cancer.

Their leadership and determination help grow 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 events. They are true Heroes!

South African Global Heroes of Hope

Cancer Survivors inspire hope, courage and determination to fight cancer. South Africa is extremely proud of our Globally recognised Heroes of Hope – they  are beacons of hope to all other cancer patients and Survivors in our country.  As a voice and ambassador of the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), they increase awareness of our organisation, its mission and grow CANSA Relay For Life participation. Their role is so important in leading other Survivors to step up and make a difference. Survivors have the power to save lives by sharing their story and demonstrating many ways to fight back.

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 CANSA.  Volunteers like this make a difference in the fight in reducing cancer risk and will give those on their cancer journey the opportunity to celebrate more birthdays.

“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 message of HOPE,” says CANSA CEO, Elize Joubert. “These people are the faces and voices of victory over cancer and reinforce why we do what we do on a daily basis.

Carrying a powerful testimony of survival and strength, these Global Heroes of Hope can spread the message of hope and courage to cancer Survivors worldwide. These extraordinary people serve as beacons of HOPE to all cancer patients and Survivors in our country.” concludes Joubert.

Congratulations on being selected as a Global Hero of Hope!

South African Global Heroes of Hope 2017

Anthea Lewis

Anthea Lewis

Anthea was diagnosed at the age of 38 with breast cancer – at that stage she was 1 of 3 who were battling cancer in her family.

Shortly after her diagnosis she became part of the CANSA Relay For Life movement in South Africa, at that stage she was still struggling to accept her own diagnosis and participated, not really knowing what to expect – it was during the Survivors Lap that she allowed herself to cry for the 1st time. In the Survivors tent she met fellow Survivors who shared their stories – and she felt at home – she could understand and relate to what they were saying. And this is where she started sharing her story of Hope – inspiring and supporting fellow Survivors.

Anthea is all about celebrating life. She lives each day to the fullest and leaves room for no regrets. She shares her story of Hope with many and inspires those around her with the words: “I have cancer, cancer doesn’t have me.” Read more…

Ardath Datnow

Ardath Bernadette Datnow

Since the first CANSA Relay For Life started in Kimberley, Ardath, breast cancer Survivor, attended everyone! She is a well-known face at the Survivor rounds and especially appreciates the Luminaria, as she has already seen so many Survivors losing the fight. Survivors make an effort to walk close to Ardath during the Survivor round. It just makes absolutely sense that as many people as possible be exposed to the aura that this gentle lady has. She touches lives in a very special way.

What an experience to hear her journey with cancer and the many different Survivors she has been involved with – supporting and motivating as best as she could. It is awesome to experience Ardath doing a prosthesis fitting.

She lets the Survivor feel comfortable, special and beautiful. Ardath adds value to that person’s self-esteem.

Ardath Datnow symbolizes Hope and the willingness to continue the fight against cancer. Says Ardath, “Cancer made me more positive, caring and overall a better person.” Read more…

Leonie Harry

Leonie Nerissa Harry

Says Leonie, “CANSA Relay For Life is my platform for celebration of life and sharing Hope.”

Leonie was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38 years in 2002. She was absolutely devastated by the diagnosis, and her world, as she knew it, came crashing down.

She had to have her left breast amputated, and she very quickly descended into a dark pit of depression and anger caused by her loss: the loss of her breast, her “femininity”, her identity and some of her friends. She became introverted and very unsociable, and the onset of chemotherapy only added fuel to her fire of loss and anger. She lost weight, lost her hair, lost her appetite, lost her energy, lost her faith and lost Hope.

Slowly, with the love and care of her colleagues, a few friends, the staff of the Oncology Unit, and the love, care and support of the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) East London staff, Leonie started reclaiming her life. She also began to realize the importance of meeting other cancer Survivors and belonging to a support group. She started developing a passion to help other cancer Survivors to cope with their diagnoses and consequent side effects, and she learnt to laugh again. Read more…

Wynand Pienaar

Wynand Pienaar

“There is no better way to live my dream and to tell my story than through CANSA Relay For Life,” says Wynand.

Wynand, an avid rugby player, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in February 2016, at the age of 27. He kept himself motivated and determined to beat the disease and continue his dream to play rugby again. After successful treatment he is now in remission and is motivated to make a remarkable return to rugby in 2017.

Wynand wants to inspire upcoming sports stars, by showing them that whatever comes your way , you should never give up your dream to be what you always want to be and to inspire others to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle to help reduce their cancer risk.

Wynand believes that cancer is not the beginning of the end, but that it’s the beginning of a new life, and that’s why he wants to live his life to the fullest and inspire his community, as well as the world with his story. Read more…

South African Alumni Global Heroes of Hope

As new Heroes are selected for the new year, the Heroes of the last year will be known as Alumni Heroes, “Once a Hero, always a Hero“. They will continue to represent CANSA, providing us with  a network of Heroes and a pool of ready speakers and leaders to inspire others.

Meet our Alumni Global Heroes of Hope:


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