Charmaine Stumke, dedicating Shavathon 2012 to cancer survivors and caregivers

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

I have shaved my head twice before, in 2009 & 2010. I dedicated those shaves to people very close to me that lost their battle to cancer and my focus was not on Survivors.

At CANSA we regard any person that ever hears the words “You have cancer” as a survivor, whether you are still undergoing treatment or in remission.  (Read below the overwhelming response from CANSA staff to Charmaine’s dedication…)  YOU ARE A SURVIVOR.

This year I am dedicating my shave to my husband, Len, who was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer). He got very ill about six weeks before that with pneumonia. He just deteriorated after that and was finally admitted to hospital on 12 December with Kidney Failure. His potassium levels were so high that they thought that he would have heart failure at any moment. Thanks to a wonderful team of doctors and nursing staff they managed to pull him through.

After a very huge amount of tests, including a bone marrow test, a kidney biopsy and very many blood tests, they finally managed to diagnose him on the 17th December 2011. A date we will never forget. I am sure all cancer survivors can tell a similar story.

There are no words to describe the last 11 weeks; it has being an emotional rollercoaster for both of us.

In the past I have not given much thought to the caregivers of cancer patients, whether it is a spouse, sibling, child, parent, friend, volunteer or nurse. I have now experienced what you go through on a daily basis and believe me it is not easy.

As a caregiver you have various roles:

  • Nurse – You have to see that the patient has there pills at the correct. You have to look after the patient’s well being; you have to help them in the bath or get dressed, etc. I could probably carry on all day about this role.
  • Dietician – You have to see that the patient eats healthy and drinks the right amount of liquid and the correct liquids.
  • Mother – You have to console the patient and let them cry on your shoulder – only as a mother can, but you also have to get strict at times – only as a mother can.
  • Friend – You have to support the patient when they are down and are about to give (or have given) up the battle. You have to encourage them not to. You have to sit up with them when they are too scared to sleep, because of the fear of not waking up.
  • Counsellor – Much like the above, you have to support the patient, but you also have to give reasonable and inspiring answers to their questions.
  • Yourself – This might be the most difficult role of a caregiver because you have to hide your own feelings and fears from the patient. You have to be the strong one – no matter what.

For the first time in my life, I perceive myself as a caregiver to a cancer patient.

I would like to thank all the caregivers and salute you – you are doing a wonderful job.

I would also like to change the dedication for my shave: This shave will be dedicated to my husband Len; to all the other cancer survivors – I have seen what you go through on a daily basis and I would also like to salute you for your bravery; lastly, but not the least, to the caregivers.
My shave is the least I could do to show my support and empathy.

Please pledge your support to Cancer Survivors & Caregivers by making a donation to my shave at or you can email your pledge to

Thank you very much for the overwhelming support that we have already received.  It helps to know that we are not alone.

Charmaine Stumke


Carl Albrecht: I pledge R300 and challenge all ROC members to do the same. Research in action will eventually conquer cancer.

Faieza de Sousa: R100.00 from the Cancer support and Nurturing Group especially to Aunty Fatima Abader whose cancer came back in her lungs and to all those who is still battling with cancer.

Gina van Eeden: My husband (Harold) and I would like to pledge R200.00 A very close family member was diagnosed a few weeks ago; this was a huge shock to us, but if there is one thing that we have learnt though all this is that the human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.

Terry le Roux-Duncan: I pledge R200 in memory of my precious, beautiful and brave mother, Grace le Roux who had Breast Cancer at age 76 and survived, she sadly passed away from the dreaded Motor Neuron Disease a few years later. I salute all the Cancer Survivors and praise God for His grace.

Antoinette Webster: I pledge R100.00 for Berti Akersten who will become a Cancer survivor. We love you dearly.

Anjolien Brink: Ek pledge ook R 100, dit gaan vir elke survivor daar buite, maar veral die binne CANSA!

Dominique Krajewski: I pledge R100-00 to our common goal to fight cancer. This is also for granny that lost the battle, yet a brave and courageous women that braved the war and poverty. We all stand united.

Michelle May: I pledge R200 for the cancer survivors here at Eikehof CANSA Care Lodge and my best friend who has been in remission for 12 yrs now.

Braam van Reenen: As an “learner” survivor (basal cell nose job) I pledge R500 in memory and salute of four extremely brave and courages women! The mother and best friend of two of my children, Joan van Reenen and Tina Pateman, precious friend, secretary and CANSA Colleague … you fought bravely! Hermi Angelucci and Carmen – who are both cancer survivors, sisters of Tina (above) and the epitome of courages love … Daaaaahlings I salute you!

Lucinda Carter: I would also like to pledge R100-00 in memory of my cancer buddies that passed away. I met them all at Mkhuhla CANSA Care Home whilst undergoing treatments in the year 2005. For 7 weeks we laughed together, cried together and supported each other. Some fought a good fight and lost the battle, But I will never forget them. Lost 3 dear family members to cancer too. I will also keep fighting together with all of you at CANSA.

Adeliah Jacobs: R100 for my late granddad (liver cancer), aunty Veronica Stevens, aunty Rowena van Rooi who all grew their angel wings in 2011; for all our Survivors and CANSA RFL in Cape Metro, for oncology care givers at GSH and Tygerberg and for Greer Winkworth!

Silvia Craucamp: I pledge R100,00 and this is for my daughter who’s cancer has spread and she is only 26 years old and will be undergoing surgery in April, I myself am a 27 year cancer survivor so I am pledging another R100,00.

Joel Perry: Dear Charmaine, Thank you for sharing your Light with all of us. I pray that you and husband will be strengthened in every way, that your lives will be rich in the fullness of Life that will transcend every physical and emotional challenge confronting you right now. May your needs and your joys be met by His Grace. May you know true healing and may your Light shine brightly.

Fransie Reynolds: I will pledge R10 for every aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, grandpa, grandma and my mother in law that died from Cancer and for my two nephew’s and my uncle having treatment, I pledge R30 each. The total I owe is R300.00, Rosestad groete

Belinda Wessels: My husband Theuns and I pledge R300 and pray for all those fighting cancer.

Liesl Greyling: In support of my mother who is a survivor, and Tania my colleague I pledge R300.00

Tania Mc Kay: As a survivor I and my husband Bruce pledge R300.00. Our prayers go to all in the CANSA family fighting the battle, you are not alone!
Have a super SHAVATHON all!!!!!

Minette van Zyl: I also pledge R100.00 for all the cancer survivors that serve on the RFL committees in my region.

Stefan Brink: I as a survivor will also pledge R100-00.

Olivia Curlewis: Des and I pledge R100 each for our son Marc who is a Cancer survivor and doing just great.

Izak Mahali: This R100 pledge is a small gesture of our profound gratitude for the wonderful emotional support and counselling a dear and very close family member. Joyce Jemane is receiving from Gail Roman at Mowbray Care Centre.

Salome Smith: Please be advised that Pierre and I would like to pledge R200 to this worthy cause in loving memory of my darling dad that lost the battle on December 28th, 2011.


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