“When we first launched the Power of Pink campaign with the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association (SAMFA) and Pick n Pay in October 2010,” says Reach for Recovery’s Management Board Chairperson, Stephné Jacobs, “we had no idea of the POWER we would unleash through our incredible partners nor the extent of the success that lay ahead. Today I can say, with enormous gratitude, that our achievements through this campaign have been nothing more than miraculous. In October 2010 we raised R323000. Now we consistently raise more than R500 000 a year.”
Power Of Pink Campaign Highlights
- Total funds raised from all October campaigns between 2010 and 2019: R5 177 628
- Total number of financially challenged women assisted with silicone prostheses (Excluding 2019): 6523
“We are extremely delighted to have achieved the R5m mark in the 10th year of the Power of Pink campaign,” says SAMFA chairperson Ross Richardson. This Pink campaign is one of very few breast cancer fundraising campaigns that support survivors who cannot afford reconstructions after mastectomies. SAMFA and Pick n Pay value our partnership with Reach for Recovery and are in awe of this 100% volunteer-based NGO and the extent of the incredible work that they do.”
Reach for Recovery South Africa consists of only 210 active voluntary members and these extraordinary women, breast cancer warriors themselves, achieved the following during 2019:
- Supported 5923 patients in hospitals and through continued visits thereafter
- Handed out 3013 care bags with support items and information leaflets to post-operative breast cancer patients in hospitals. (The production costs of the care bags and their content are also covered by the Power of Pink campaign)
- Fitted 666 state patients who had a mastectomy and no medical aid with prostheses at no cost. (Breast prostheses are available in 3 colours to match skin tones as well as in different sizes so that the patient can have the correct size fitted. Reach for Recovery was able to purchase the prostheses at an average of R881 per unit where the average price of a single prosthesis on the open market is anything from R3500 upwards)
AND WHY MUSHROOMS AND BREAST CANCER?
A body of international research is continues to show the link between breast cancer and mushroom consumption. The Power of Pink campaign assists in increasing awareness of the protective properties of mushrooms as indicated by the research:
ANTI-OXIDANTS and SELENIUM
Mushrooms are rich in anti-oxidants wich aids the good for immune system and they also contain selenium in quantities much higher than any other plant food. Selenium has been found have an anti-cancer affect on prostate cancer particularly. These elements work together to protect the body against cancer by getting rid of free radicals and defending the body against invading organisms. Mushrooms are also a low energy dense food that can help lower calorie intake which in turn prevents obesity, a proven risk for Breast Cancer.
But the key is that fact that mushrooms contain phytochemicals that are found to specifically supress BREAST & PROSTATE CANCER:
Mushrooms contain a fatty acid namely conjugated linoleic acid that has the ability to inhibit two enzymes called AROMATASE & 5-ALPHA-REDUCTASE that are involved in these cancers.
Many mammary tumors are hormone sensitive and the estrogen hormone is a major factor in the development of breast cancer, especially in post menoposal women. One of the reasons is that although the ovaries stop producing estrogen other cells (fat & breast cancer cells) continue to do so.
The enzyme α-Aromatase responsible for the production of estrogen : converts androgen to estrogen which in turn promotes the development of breast cancer in post menopausal women. However mushrooms contain conjugated linoleic acid that inhibits aromatase and thus inhibits cancer. Aromatase has been linked to breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate cancers .
The same applies to the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase which converts testosterone that plays a role in the development of prostate cancer. As in the case of aromatase, conjugated linoleic acid is inhibiting this enzyme thus preventing or controlling prostate cancer.
Tamoxifen is a widely used prescribed drug which works by competing with the estrogen on the same receptor on the tumor cell and obstructs the active estrogen. It is effective but has unpleasant side effects and especially in remission it cannot be taken forever. That’s where mushrooms can act as a natural substitute for controlling the production of estrogen.