Pancreatic Cancer Network South Africa was established in 2014 in honor of Founder Carla Bailey’s late mother and uncle, who both fought the disease bravely. She founded the organization to offer hope and support to those fighting pancreatic cancer. “Before our organization was established, no light was shed on this disease and we knew little about it. I felt that people needed to know…to stand a better chance at survival,” Bailey said.
The organization raises awareness through events, such as an annual golf day, cycling events and World Pancreatic Cancer Day. They also educate the public on early symptoms and risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer as well as offer survivors a platform to communicate with other survivors and share information. “Our reach has gone as far as Namibia and has proven that survivors on the African continent needed a ‘home,’” Bailey said.
Pancreatic Cancer Network South Africa is currently working with the City of Cape Town Employee Wellness Programme, and staff travels to a different depo/area each week where they meet between 60 and 600 employees to talk about pancreatic cancer.
The organization recently hosted its first pancreatic cancer survivors support group meeting in South Africa and Africa. They hope to expand to having a support line in South Africa, as they have found that survivors who are in treatment aren’t sure whom to contact should an emergency arise, if they are experiencing any side effects or just need advice.
The organization also provides care packs for survivors, which include a branded bag, purple towel/blanket, BPA-free water bottle, inspirational book, journal and healthy snacks, as well as information about the disease.
Bailey said that she would love to have access to information, materials and training from other WPCC member organizations, as well as access to any volunteer and nurses training modules to implement in South Africa.
“Not reinventing the wheel would be great!” she said.
This year on World Pancreatic Cancer Day, Bailey said the community looks forward to turning iconic sites in South Africa purple and building relationships with other advocacy organizations to drive change in South Africa and Africa.