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Cancer Survivor Speaks Out

JOBURG - Trisch Rosema is a cancer survivor, motorcycle enthusiast and dedicated supporter of the PinkDrive initiative.

Rosema was 25 years old when a routine pap smear showed up some suspicious results. After

further examination it was discovered that two areas in her cervix showed up cancerous. “Cancer

was almost a hush-hush subject during the 1980s,” Rosema said. “At the time, cervical cancer

patients were labelled as ‘loose chicks with low morals’ so it embarrassed me to no end even though

the reality was that I was married, had a child and was a good law-abiding citizen who was definitely

not promiscuous.”

Rosema was diagnosed by a specialist with having stage 3A cervical cancer and was told that they

needed to operate. “I was so young, I didn’t ask questions,” she said. Rosema also had to undergo

chemotherapy and radiation to combat the cancer. “I hated the chemo and radiation because it

made me terribly sick,” she said. “They didn’t have ports like they do these days; they just shoved

needles into my veins.”

Rosema attributes much of her strength during this period to a case of ignorance is bliss. “Looking

back I wonder if not knowing too much was actually better for me,” she said.

Rosema, who has been cancer-free for 25 years, is now an active member of PinkDrive which

is a breast cancer public benefit organisation. PinkDrive runs two mobile breast check units

and three educational cars which ‘drive home’ the fact that early detection saves lives. To date

the organisation has provided over 5000 free mammograms, done over 54 000 clinical breast

examinations, educated over 79 000 women, and distributed over 90 000 educational materials.

Being a motorcycle enthusiast Rosema has started PinkRide in association with PinkDrive with

her friend, Julie Purkis. Rosema and Purkis organise motorcycle rides for cancer awareness and to

educate women on how early detection is vital.

Rosema explained that she supports PinkDrive because of their tireless efforts to dispel the myth

that all types of cancer kill.

“It’s extremely important that women have regular breast examinations and have a pap smear every

year,” Rosema said. “It’s not a cliche that early detection saves lives, it’s a reality. It saved my life.”

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