Lilian’s Cancer Journey

How the Johnson Rose Cancer Foundation helped a mother from KZN

How the Johnson Rose Cancer Foundation helped a mother from KZN

In early 2023, the world as Lilian Khanye knew it was shaken to its core when she received a breast cancer diagnosis. At 66 years old and working as a domestic worker in Durban, she faced a daunting treatment plan that included chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. The news was not only emotionally overwhelming but also carried a heavy financial burden. Lilian knew that she would not be able to continue working during her treatment, and she would have to lean on her children for support throughout her journey to remission.

The harsh reality for uninsured cancer patients

For many breast cancer patients in South Africa, like Lilian, the battle is twofold. Not only do they grapple with the physical and emotional trauma of cancer, but they also face daily challenges accessing the necessary treatment. The inability to work due to illness coupled with the added expenses of travel to receive treatment only adds to their burden. Public transport becomes a lifeline for these patients, requiring them to wake up early and travel long distances, all while being frail and unwell. But the daily taxi-fare often is not within reach for these patients and alarmingly many do not complete the radiotherapy that will stop the disease from returning.

The solution that helped Lilian to complete her therapy

Knowing the harsh realities faced by patients like Lilian, the Johnson Rose Cancer Foundation provided hope. Recognizing the financial and emotional strain of her daily commute to the radiation therapy unit, the foundation stepped in to support her. They arranged for private, door-to-door transport for Lilian, alleviating the burden of travel expenses and allowing her to focus solely on her recovery. With this assistance, Lilian could finally find some peace of mind amid her challenging treatment journey, demonstrating the profound impact that community organisations and compassionate individuals can have in the fight against cancer.

Lilian’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the incredible strength and courage that cancer patients, particularly in resource-challenged environments, exhibit every day. Their journey is not just one of physical endurance but also a testament to the support and the love of family in the face of adversity.

Beverley Sebastian, COO of the Johnson Rose Cancer Foundation

The Johnson Rose Cancer Foundation is a registered NGO and a first of its kind in South Africa, providing much-needed funding and help to uninsured patients and families impacted by cancer. The foundation relies solely on donations to fund its activities and aims to close the gap in cancer care, stopping preventable deaths and giving equitable access to treatment for all South Africans. For more information visit

Related Articles