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Cancer awareness walk: ‘walk for Johlene, the journey continues’


Media Statement from Eastern Cape Media Centre
Corporate Communication

South African Police Service

PORT ELIZABETH: The Deputy Provincial Commissioner: Asset Management Maj Gen Tembeka Dyantyi and the Mount Road Cluster Commander, Maj Gen Thembisile Patekile welcomed to the Eastern  Cape four courageous and determined men from Bloemfontein (former and current police officials) who sacrificed three weeks to walk from Bloemfontein to Port Elizabeth in support of cancer awareness.

On 7 May 2018, Deon Van Merwe (60), a former police officer (Lt Col) from the BloemfonteinK9 Unit set out on foot together with three other colleagues (from the SAPS) on a journey from Bloemfontein to Port Elizabeth to raise awareness and funds for CANSA.  The group walked over 600km’s and on Thursday, 24 May 2018 they descended on the friendly city of Port Elizabeth. They were received by the SAPS K9 and Mounted unit’s dogs and horses. The SAPS Airwing showed their support by escorting them into the city. The SAPS dogs donned in pink scarves led the way on foot with their handlers from Walmer Boulevard to their final destination, the K9 unit in Forrest Hills. 

In August 2015, Deon Van der Merwe’s wife (also an SAPS member) succumbed to the deadly disease. Life after cancer for family members is emotional and difficult at times.

Deon Col Van der Merwe walked this distance to honour his wife’s Johlene’s long and courageous fight against breast cancer. Another reason for his walk was to pay tribute to the care givers who live with cancer patients and to inspire and motivate the affected families. He also aimed at using this walk as an encouragement of hope and support to all SAPS members who are living with cancer.

On Tuesday, 22/05, the team stopped at SAPS Kinklebos where they were cordially welcomed by the Station Commander, Capt Vuyisile Tembani. They rested for a while and interacted with the members at the station before taking to the road once again.

In her address, Maj Gen Dyantyi commended the team on their tedious yet inspiring journey and mentioned that it was done for a worthy cause. ‘This disease knows no sex, age, or status and can inflict anyone. Detecting early signs of cancer is important and only through constant awareness and knowledge of the symptoms that we can increase our chance of survival,’ added Maj Gen Dyantyi.

The Mount Road Cluster Commander, Maj Gen Patekile in his welcoming address expressed his appreciation and praise for the team for choosing the Eastern Cape as a destination for creating cancer awareness. He also encouraged the attendees that ‘knowing that you have cancer is not the end of the world but instead with early detection and treatment, you can prolong or overcome the disease.’

So often, precious lives are interrupted or cut short by cancer and only through education and continuous awareness, the disease can be more easily identified and more effectively treated.

Media enquiries: Col Priscilla Naidu 0713628726


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