People Living with Cancer (PLWC) was established in 2002 by Carl Liebenberg and Linda Greeff, both of whom are cancer survivors. In the formative years of the organisation the focus was on establishing a peer-to-peer cancer support program. Over time PLWC has developed a broader perspective and now finds its role as an umbrella organisation responsible for many cancer-related projects that find synergy in working together in a complementary and creative manner, overseen by a management group drawn from these projects.
The PLWC mission is to create a national support structure for people living with cancer, cancer survivors and their families across South Africa. To build innovative partnerships between like-minded organisations, projects and initiatives and collaborate on cancer advocacy, cancer-awareness, education, screening, prevention, patient support and survivorship. The PLWC projects all contribute to our ability to achieve these aims.
PLWC encourages organisations, partners and projects within the structure to function independently. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governs the working relationships between the partners. The PLWC member projects work as an inclusive team with the aim to build a more integrated and effective civil society organisation that represents the voice of cancer patients in South Africa.
Carl Liebenberg was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 to 1999 and took a one year sabbatical to undergo extensive chemotherapy and surgery. It was from this personal experience with cancer that in 2002 he co-founded PLWC and Cancer Buddies organisations. He is also currently serving as Director at The Health Foundation, an independent not-for-profit company created with the aim to conduct fundraising activities and to form strategic commercial partnerships with the private sector, in order to expand the resource pool available to public health care facilities in the Western Cape, South Africa.
He holds a Bachelor of Business Science and an MBA in Finance and Economics from UCT. He has been involved in the financial services industry for over 20 years, specialising in investment management, corporate finance and advisory solutions for clients’ existing business interests as well as capital raising and private equity funds management. Carl has also served as Investment Banker at RMB Private Bank and he is currently Principal Corporate Advisory at Prescient Wealth Management, advising high net worth clients on domestic and international investment and financial planning. He sits on the Audit and Risk Committee of PLWC and he has also developed policies and procedures for other non profit organisations.
Riad Masoet is a 4-year brain cancer survivor. He was previously the COO and CEO of Woolworths Financial Services, as well as COO and CEO of RCS Group.
Riad is also Director and Founder of two charities, Purple Cow Ventures and Standing Tall. Purple Cow Ventures is a ventured-based non-profit organisation, raising funds via social enterprise ventures, venture crowdfunding, donor funding and traditional fundraising, benefitting cancer and multiple sclerosis charities. Standing Tall focuses on disability and diversity recruitment for differently-abled persons.
He holds a BComm from UCT and an MBA from North-West University and contributes greatly through his vast commercial experience in Product/Project Management, Social Impact, Marketing, Change Management as well as Strategy and Brand Development. His experience adds relevant strategy and operational value to the PLWC Board and Audit and Risk Committee.
Janie du Plessis became known as a young TV journalist and media personality in the early 80’s while studying at the UJ in Johannesburg. After spending many years abroad, she was diagnosed with breast cancer 19 years ago and returned to South Africa, with her two sons, Misha and Benito in 1999.
In 2000 she started her own property business, offering conceptual project management services to property developers. Her lifelong passion for participating in charity causes was ongoing throughout. She successfully blended her passion for charity projects with her strategic business skills, her media and marketing abilities as well as her ability to communicate with audiences as an inspirational speaker. In 2014 Janie accepted the position as CEO of PLWC where she currently serves as an executive member of the Board as well as a member of the Audit and Risk committee of the organisation.
Dr Sumi Padayachee has been a medical practitioner for over 20 years and for over 10 of those years, Breast Cancer diagnosis has been the main focus of her career and private practice as a specialist Breast Radiologist. PLWC is very near and dear to her heart, having lost both her parents to Cancer.
She graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School and undertook her radiology training at the University of the Witwatersrand and Gauteng Academic Hospitals.
She is dedicated to excellent breast and bone healthcare and is focused on providing her patients with the latest innovative solutions to improve and optimise early detection of Breast Cancer and Osteoporosis. She founded ARYA STANA BONE & BREAST CARE, the only dedicated breast and bone imaging centre in Cape Town.
She is a strong advocate of protocol-led- multidisciplinary breast care. She believes that medical practitioners need to focus not only on diagnosing and treating diseases but on the whole patient, including the physical co-morbidities, emotional and psychological ramifications of these diseases.
She currently serves on the PLWC Board as a non-Executive director and on the Remuneration Committee.
Prof Zaahl is a very active member of the human genetics research community locally and abroad and is a frequent participant at national and international conferences and workshops. She was a recipient of a Commonwealth Split-site scholarship (2001) and completed part of her PhD degree at Oxford University, UK. She obtained her PhD degree in Human Genetics from Stellenbosch University in 2003, became senior lecturer in 2006 and was promoted to associate professor in 2009.
She has been involved in various research projects investigating the possible underlying genetic causes of diseases and is currently investigating genes involved in iron homeostasis/metabolism in hereditary haemochromatosis, primary iron overload and oesophageal cancer. These are common illnesses which impact heavily on general health and health resources.
She has published 20 research articles in international peer-reviewed journals (8 first author publications and 9 co-author publications), one book chapter and a review article in the field of human genetics and has trained numerous postgraduate students (18 Hons BSc, 10 MSc and 4 PhD).
Prof Zaahl was also the recipient of the 2006 South African National Research Foundation “Women in Science” award, in the category “Best emerging young scientist”. She was the South African representative at the International Council of Science (ICSU) meeting in April 2007. She is the recipient of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) awards, category: Young Black Researcher, in 2009 and winner of the National Order: Order of Mapungubwe: Bronze, awarded by the president of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma in 2010 and the International Golden Key Honorary Member award in August 2010.
She currently serves on the PLWC Board as a non-Executive director and she sits on the Audit and Risk Committee.
Ryan Sherwood is a cancer survivor, husband and proud father of two sons. He has been involved in the tobacco industry for 23 years, with 12 of those years spent as a director on the board of a Zimbabwean company. He is involved in logistics, commercial, operational and financial departments.
His experience stands him in good stead when adding value to any organisation that demands success, continuity and growth such as PLWC. Ryan is an avid cyclist and founder of Ride 4 Skin Cancer, a project of PLWC. He currently serves as a non-Executive member of the PLWC Board.
The focus of PLWC is to develop a cancer survivor-driven organisation based on the following core departure points: