October is here again, which means it’s time for a sea of pink paraphernalia and dozens of fundraising initiatives in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

One easy way to support the cause directly is with the purchase of a Relate beaded bracelet from Woolworths. 

A special Relate Bracelet in support of the Breast Health Foundation will be sold in selected Woolworths stores nationally throughout October for R39.95.

 The Breast Health Foundation was established in 2002 with the primary focus of education on breast cancer and breast health – to increase awareness, and empower all women across South Africa. Volunteers and staff, all of whom are breast cancer survivors themselves, provide first-hand knowledge and expertise to promote education and treatment for breast cancer and provide emotional and informative support to all affected by the disease. They do this “not for income, but for outcome” because it is not a job, but rather a calling. One such phenomenal survivor is Louise Turner.

She and others spend most of their week in Government clinics, teaching people about breast health. Those who are of concern in clinics are navigated to public health breast centres. If diagnosed, they are referred back to the foundation for counselling and support.

 “In a limited-resources environment in the public health sector, we provide an additional educational platform to empower women and provide further support for those suffering from breast cancer,” says Turner. “We know the challenges and side effects of treatment as we have been through it ourselves. We also support and educate their families.”

Turner explains that education is vital, and financial support is needed for them to keep doing the work they do. Just one mobile education unit, in fact, educated 21 000 people face to face in the last six months. Of those women, 1500 were navigated  to clinics and 169 were diagnosed with various stages of breast cancer.

Proceeds from the sale of each Relate bracelet benefit not just the Breast Health Foundation, but also the seniors in Cape townships who supplement their pensions and support their grandchildren and orphans by threading the beads, the young Makers who close and package the bracelets while receiving training to set them off in their chosen careers beyond Relate, and disadvantaged fledgling organisations.

Woolworths has contributed around R4.5 million over three years through the sale of thousands of Relate Bracelets in aid of conservation, wildlife, social upliftment, men’s and women’s health, and cancer. Sourcing manager for Woolworths Ralph Jewson, the man behind the brand’s Bags for Good and Beads for Good campaigns, explains that these projects are all part of the retailer’s Good Business Journey. “We take on projects like this throughout the year so that we can make a difference – living up to our brand’s strapline. We choose says Jewson.

For more information on the Breast Health Foundation go to www.mybreast.org.za or for Relate Bracelets seewww.relate.org.za.

This article was first published by Spice4Life.co.za on 07 October 2016.