The former head of the Tygerberg Breast Clinic, Doctor Justus Apffelstaedt is continuing his collaboration with one of South Africa's oldest, national, non-profit breast cancer support groups, Reach for Recovery, to raise awareness and funds for their Ditto Project. The collaboration in 2018 achieved media coverage valued at R1.7m and helped raise R4,351.
Launched in 2011, the Ditto Project has provided over 5,867 indigent women, unable to afford prostheses on their own, with silicone breast prostheses costing more than R3,7m in total. These prostheses are carefully measured and fitted to each recipient to look as natural as the normal breast.
"Reach for Recovery and I share the same belief: that all women facing breast cancer must be treated with dignity, and have the same access to care, regardless of whether they can afford it. I am honoured to offer my support to this initiative for a second year as I have witnessed the power of these prostheses in recovery," says Dr Apffelstaedt.
“Mastectomies are emotionally traumatic surgeries that often take place during a scary time in a woman’s life. For a variety of reasons, including financial, some women are left with a painful reminder of their ordeals”, says Stephanie van Deventer, national manager of Reach for Recovery. “In South Africa, there have been many instances where women feel stigmatized and obvious physical changes can affect one’s confidence. We have seen first hand how these external breast prostheses can have an immediate positive effect on self-confidence.
“Reach for Recovery wants to help women to feel confident again after a traumatic diagnosis and surgery. We believe that a breast prosthesis can be an important step in her recovery, especially to those women from communities where there is still a stigma attached to a cancer diagnosis”, says Dr Apffelstaedt.
"We are very happy to have Dr Apffelstaedt endorsing the Ditto Project. This new collaboration, based on similar beliefs, will strongly contribute to enhancing our project through the voice of an expert on breast health management," says Stephné Jacobs, Chairperson of the Reach for Recovery Board of Management.
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