In aid of Mandela Day, Project Flamingo will, next Saturday, attempt an unprecedented effort by performing their highest number of breast cancer surgeries in a single day.
Project Flamingo's mission is to combat breast cancer by providing access to timely and essential surgical treatments for those who are on long waiting lists in the public health sector.
The surgeries are set to achieve a remarkable milestone in the organisation's history. This monumental endeavour will take place at four public hospitals in the Western & Eastern Cape, impacting the lives of 27 individuals.
Dr Liana Roodt, Co-Founder & Director of this initiative, said Project Flamingo is the ultimate example of what can be achieved if people share a common vision and goal.
“We always stand in awe of the generosity and kindness that is so typical of South Africans. Give us a problem, and we will find a solution. From highly qualified professionals offering their time and skill as volunteers to the ordinary citizen making a small monetary contribution, packing a pamper pack, or even just telling our story.”
One patient whose life has been greatly impacted by Project Flamingo is Nicole Tessendorf, from St Francis Bay. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2022. Tessendorf was only on the waiting list for a month, but her cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes, and the main tumour was rather large.
She explained: “How I landed on Project Flamingo’s list was all by chance, actually . I had been given my date, which was a Saturday. I had come into contact with Project Flamingo via social media and had contacted them as I wanted to make my cancer mean something, only to find out that I was on their list. Relief was definitely the feeling, but being scared and apprehensive was also part of it.”
Tessendorf said since having her surgery a year ago, and helping others list, it is amazing to see the passion from all the medical staff that do the lists.
“From the ward staff to the theatre staff and all the doctors, everyone is so passionate about what they do. I feel privileged to be part of this amazing organisation.”
By organising this historic effort, Project Flamingo aims to raise awareness about breast cancer and emphasise the importance of early detection and intervention. This milestone also highlights the tremendous impact that collaborative efforts can achieve in the field of healthcare.
Dr Michael Brombacher, volunteer surgeon at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in East London, said since the inception of this project in the Eastern Cape, they have already seen the impact on the waiting times for their patients.
“Knowing that 27 patients will be operated on one day across the country by Project Flamingo and our volunteers fills me with hope for our healthcare system. It will be such a pleasure to once again see the look of relief and hope on our patients' faces on Saturday, knowing as well that relief will be shared by multiple patients across the country,” he said.