EDUCATE: Edith Venter strives to encourage women to talk about their breast cancer struggles. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso
The third annual Cell C Playing for Pink Ladies Invitational Polo is set to be a day of absolute “fabulousness”.

“The first year was a bit of a hard sell and then people experienced it. Last year was far easier but this year we don’t have enough space for everyone who wants to be part of it, I wish I could do more,” said event organiser Edith Venter.

She said the polo event had been a success because it had heart. The proceeds raised go to the Reach for Recovery breast cancer support organisation.

“Playing for Pink is different. It’s unique - not your same old black-tie dinner. It’s a day of absolute fabulousness. There’s the polo that happens; the ladies invitational with Namibia playing against South Africa this year, and a whole lifestyle day.”

Venter’s father died from cancer and she has been involved with cancer awareness since then.

“It was a painful time in my life. I’ve always been a supporter of charity organisations. It’s my life’s work. I gravitated towards the cancer association; a Cansa Gauteng patron. That’s how I met the Reach for Recovery ladies. They have a project called Ditto that helps women get prostheses for their breasts.”

PINK PREPARATION:  Edith Venter at the Inanda Club in Sandton. She is organising the third annual Playing for Pink polo on Saturday, October 28. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Venter said Ditto aided those women, especially in rural areas, who did not have the luxury of having mammograms. She added that in some instances, women get mammograms too late, resulting in them having to go through a mastectomy.

“Many of them can’t afford a breast reconstruction, so Ditto is there to help them in that area; explain the operation to them, talk them through it and be there for them. It’s a heck of a thing to go through, losing something so precious.”

Venter said the project essentially helped women feel balanced again as it gave them emotional support and also gave them back their dignity.

The women who are involved with Reach for Recovery are breast cancer survivors.

Afro soul duo Mafikizolo will be performing at this year’s event. Hip hop star Rouge will also be joining in on the lifestyle day. The No Strings rapper knows a thing or two about cancer as her father is an oncologist.

“That’s why she wanted to be part of it. She wants to make young women understand and be mindful and aware of breast cancer. It has always been seen as an old lady’s disease, but that’s not the case. Girls as young as 18 can get it.”

Venter said it was important to educate people about the disease because it was still met with a lot of stigma in some communities.

“Women shouldn’t be dying from breast cancer. It’s becoming more prevalent and people wait until it’s too late. We want to encourage women to talk about it.”

POLO AND PAMPER: Edith Venter said the polo this year would also be a fabulous day for the men in attendance.  Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

This year’s polo event will see even the men get pampered with a special treat from a barber. There will also be pop-up stores, a high tea, lots of bubbly and good food. Cell C, the main event sponsor, will also have activations on the day.

“We give those in attendance so much to look forward to. So if you don’t really like the polo, it doesn’t matter. There’s something for everyone,” Venter said.

The polo will also be taking place on a Saturday instead of a Sunday and there will be an after-party for the first time.

“Maybe that’s why it’s also had a bit more of a vibe this year. All our guests kept saying they didn’t want to go home, but because the polo was on a Sunday, they would have to because of work the next day.”

In 2015, they raised R50000 for Reach for Recovery, and last year they doubled that number.

“We always end up getting much more on the day. We run raffles and competitions, and the pop-up stores give part of their proceed sales to the organisation. Our target this year is to add another R50000 to last year’s funds.

“We do a special thing with the ladies where we get them on the field to release balloons. It draws the attention to the ladies and reminds everyone that the reason for the day is to acknowledge the women and the work they do.”

The event will take place on Saturday, October 28 at the Inanda Club in Joburg. Tickets are available at TicketPro.

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