New CHOC house in Sybrand Park

Cutting the ribbon to unveil the new CHOC house, from left Zhakier Adams, Nikki Boshoff, Naqm Azar, Lynette Muthuray, and Steve Brown.

The CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation officially opened its new home in Sybrand Park last Thursday.

The house is a home away from home for child cancer patients and their families who are from other parts of the country that aren’t near hospital’s offering cancer treatment.

It was moved to Sybrand Park from Bergvliet because it is closer to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

The children and parents have free accommodation at the home and transport to the hospital when they need it. They also have access to caregivers and special meals.

CHOC has 12 such houses and lodges across the country. There are three in the Western Cape: the other two are in Plumstead and Tygerberg.

Anita Coetzee, a supervisor for two CHOC houses, said the new house was well situated.

“We cut costs on transport, and, sometimes, if it is a nice day, they will actually decide to walk. And if there is any emergencies it’s much nearer to take them to hospital.”

CHOC’s national chairman Naqm Azar thanked the organisation’s staff, volunteers and supporters, including The Cows, a support group that has helped CHOC raise funds for the past 10 years.

“They rode 94.7 cycle challenge in cow suits. The eight guys were the original members and now they have just grown and now we have over 200 people doing the 94.7 in cow suits or cow cycling gear,” said Mr Azar.

“They have gone into other sports including the Argus Tour, the Midmar Mile and they even participated in the Comrades marathon this year where had them running it in their cow gear, and all the money raised comes to CHOC and it gets dedicated to various projects.”

One of CHOC’s volunteers, Zhakier Adams, 21, is a cancer survivor himself, and helped get the house ready, doing painting and maintenance.

He said he understood what the children went through and felt good being able to give back to the foundation.