Bridgestone Southern Africa handed over a R500 000 cheque to Pink Drive, the NGO dedicated to promoting the early detection of gender-related cancer. Bridgestone has supported Pink Drive for several years with its “pink valve caps” programme.
Cancer will affect one in four South Africans, according to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA). Early detection has a key role to play in reducing mortality from this dread disease, particularly breast, cervical, prostate and testicular cancers. Pink Drive was founded to prevent as many people as possible from succumbing to these cancers, and it focuses on reaching South Africans in rural and disadvantaged areas where health services do not reach adequately. The organisation’s pink vehicles and tents create an eye-catching presence in these communities and attract people to come and see what it is all about.
“Providing these communities with testing and education is our mission as this will help individuals detect any abnormalities early on, and so greatly increase their chances of survival and the quality of their life,” says Nelius Du Preez Event Manager, Pink Drive. “To go out into these communities with adequate staff and facilities is a mammoth undertaking, and corporate support such as we have received from Bridgestone over many years is what has made it possible.”
To date, Prink Drive has educated 429 667 women on breast health and performed a similar number of clinical examinations. Nearly 9 000 men have been educated about breast cancer, with 3 346 clinical examinations undertaken, while close on 17 000 men have received a PSA test for prostate cancer.
Lawrence Brittain, Olympic silver medallist rower and cancer survivor, accompanied the Bridgestone team to hand over the cheque to Pink Drive. Brittain urged community members to ensure they undergo regular check-ups to catch gender-related cancers early on. He stressed that those who are diagnosed with gender-related cancers should follow their treatment protocols carefully.
Brittain is an ambassador for Bridgestone Chase Your Dream No Matter What, a campaign that the tyre company introduced as part of its Official Worldwide Olympic Partnership. This campaign aims to encourage people of all ages, abilities and passions to find the strength to chase their dream and overcome the obstacles on life’s journey they face, such as cancer.
“Cancer is not end of the journey—it can be treated like any other disease. But it’s imperative that people should start taking their health seriously and avoid shortcuts,” he says.
Chantal Baxter, Operations manager wholesale at Bridgestone Southern Africa, explains that the company raises the money by selling pink valve caps through its various channels and at motoring events. All the work is undertaken on a voluntary basis by Bridgestone staff, including its top executives.
“This year we really put together a solid action plan and our staff and business partners really came to the party—we’re delighted to be able to pass on this substantial amount of money to a great organisation doing great work,” she says.