CPF spruces up CHOC house for Mandela Day

Diep River CPFs Bianca Allison, CHOC house supervisor Anita Coetzee, Rene Swiegelar of CHOC and CPF chairman, Robbert Rijkers, unpacking a donation of curtains and bedding.

A Plumstead house that is a home away from home for young cancer patients and their families is getting a makeover.

The house is run by CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation) and is the largest of the homes the organisation has in Cape Town.

However, it has started to look a little run-down, and now the Diep River Community Police Forum (CPF) has jumped in to spruce it up as part of a belated Mandela Day project.

CPF project coordinator, Bianca Allison, said they had already received several donations for the home, including curtains and bedding.

Someone had come in to measure the couches for recovering while another person had donated fabric.

CPF chairman, Robbert Rijkers, said they needed paint for some of the rooms which had bad cracks and damp. And they wanted to replace all
96 light bulbs in the house with LEDs to reduce the home’s electricity bill.

The CPF committee has been busy in recent months. It has held a child-protection awareness campaign, handed out leaflets at Meadowridge Shopping Centre, held raffles to raise money for the Diep River police trauma unit and for the BADISA Wynberg Poppie Project.

The CPF is also busy painting Diep River police station.

Ms Alison said they need a gas stove, water tanks a vegetable garden and new toys for the CHOC home.

CHOC’s Lynette Muthuray said the foundation provided free nationwide support to children with cancer and other life-threatening blood disorders – and their families.

CHOC supports the specialist-treatment facilities in academic hospitals and has 12 homes around the country, including the CHOC House Plumstead.

CHOC mostly takes South African patients who live at least 50km from a treatment centre and can’t afford to travel to it.

Ms Muthuray said people generally liked to donated food hampers and toys but the biggest cost of hosting families was the maintenance.

The Plumstead house can accommodate 20 adults and children, but it has the biggest running cost of R500 000 a year.

Work on the outside of the house will be done on Saturday August 18, but because it is so busy the inside can only be painted when it is closed to patients and families from December 24 to January 7.

Ms Muthuray said the childhood cancer survival rate in South Africa was very low: 55%, but in developed countries, it was between 70% and 80% and the illness was mostly curable.

But South Africa’s low survival rate is better than other developing countries because children can be referred to paediatric oncology units at state-funded academic hospitals including Red Cross, Tygerberg and Groote Schuur.

CHOC is supported by volunteers who are a phone call away and can do a range of tasks from making a birthday cake to serving tea to patients and outpatients in hospital.

To become a volunteer, contact CHOC Western Cape regional office at 086 110 6441 or email wcape@choc.org.za

Email cpfdiepriver177@gmail.com to help the Diep River CPF.