Tackling two Big Cs for her sister

FAMILY FIGHT: Sisters Tara Kitching, left, and Delia Hooke share a hug. Picture: MARCEL LOUBSER
FAMILY FIGHT: Sisters Tara Kitching, left, and Delia Hooke share a hug. Picture: MARCEL LOUBSER

Ready for Comrades fundraiser

THE bond between two sisters and their family’s battle with cancer has inspired one sister to raise funds for a cancer charity by running in the Comrades Marathon this month.

Port Elizabeth-born Delia Hooke, 34, having watched her father, grandmother and aunt die from cancer and now journeying with her sister, Tara Kitching, 42, through her fight against breast cancer, has decided to run for a cause.

Hooke will dress in pink and be given a place at the front of the field at the 89km Comrades Marathon next Sunday in Pietermaritzburg as a representative of Pink Drive, a breast cancer education and fundraising non-governmental organisation.

The two-time Comrades marathon runner, who is married and has a six-year-old son, Nathan, said she chose to run for Pink Drive as she realised people were not aware of the services the NGO offered.

“When my dad was diagnosed he had only eight months left.

“Meanwhile, my sister found it soon enough and started with her treatment the next week,” Hooke said, adding how important early detection was.

“Had my father been checked out it would have made all the difference. I just want people to know that early detection saves lives.

“I also want people to know that the Pink Drive has these pink trucks that go around and you can have the test there free,” Hooke said.

Although both sisters live in Johannesburg, their mother, Barbara Manna, who lives in South End, Port Elizabeth, is supporting them all the way.

Hooke has raised more than R40 000 in pledges in the past eight months, making her the second highest Pink Drive fundraiser to participate in the Comrades.

Kitching, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2011, said she remembered sitting in the doctor’s office after being told over the pone that she had cancer.

“I remember the doctor telling me ‘You’ve got cancer and now you just have to deal with it’. That was shocking. He turned out to be one of my favourite doctors because he was so direct and we worked on it and did what had to be done quickly.”

Kitching had a double mastectomy last year and is currently on treatment after her doctor told her last October that the cancer was back.

However, she is positive and grateful for her family’s support.

“Even though the cancer is hereditary, I was very shocked when I was first diagnosed but the second time I was very scared because now I had a little boy to think about,” Kitching said, referring to her “miracle baby” Blake, who is now four years old.

“I was told that I didn’t have much time left and I had to freeze my eggs but I didn’t, and Blake came along. I say he was a miracle because even with the chemo it all happened naturally,” Kitching said.

The sisters run a baby wellness studio in Johannesburg called “The Bub-Hub”, where mothers go to bond and spend time with their babies.

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