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‘My breast cancer was back’: Cape Town Gin Breast Cancer Warrior shares her story

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company shares Chantelle van Dyk’s story. Being a mother comes with its challenges but being diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time is an obstacle no one can prepare you for.

Chantelle van Dyk thought her fighting days were behind her. At just 27, doctors had diagnosed the mother of two with breast cancer. The worst thing that could happen happened. With the support of her family and community, she battled her cancer and fought her way to remission. Now, she could breathe a sigh of relief and get back to what mattered to her most: taking care of her family and watching her young children grow up.

But, five years later, her old “friend” would return to test her once again. While on a family vacation earlier this year, she dreamt that her cancer was back. She woke up with a pit in her stomach—something didn’t feel right. “I immediately checked my breast and as my fingers came across a lump, I felt this icy dread: my breast cancer was back.”

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer for South African women of all races, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 27. “Both times when I received the news, I was devastated, but this time it hit me harder. I never thought that it would come back and in such a short time, I was still in remission from my first cancer,” says Chantelle.

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age will sometimes develop it again within the first five years after treatment. In fact, global statistics say that 7 to 11% of young women treated for breast cancer will have a recurrence.

As Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company’s Breast Cancer Warrior for 2022, Chantelle is determined to not just become another number and is sharing her story so that others reading this will heed her warning. “Check your breasts yourself once a week. Go for your yearly checkups and if you have a history of cancer in your family, go twice a year,” she says. “Cancer is out there, and it is real. I thought it would never happen to me and now I am battling it for the second time.”

Chantelle has a long road ahead of her. She has started her chemo, which threatens to break her with each treatment. “I have three chemotherapy sessions left, and I hate every second.” And then on 1 December, when she should be celebrating 10 years with the love of her life, she’ll instead undergo a double mastectomy, reconstruction, hysterectomy, and her ovaries will be taken out.

“We’ve always believed that building a great, enduring company requires being performance-driven through the lens of humanity,” says Craig van der Venter, founder and managing director of Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company. “Which is why our continued work with an NPO like PinkDrive that is on the ground changing the lives of those who need it most, is one we’re immensely proud of.”

 

A health sector NPO, every day PinkDrive works towards preventing as many people as they can from succumbing to breast, cervical, prostate, and testicular cancer by prioritising citizens without access to reasonable care for these conditions, and who live in areas where health services do not reach them.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, for every bottle of Cape Town The Pink Lady Gin sold, a portion of the proceeds made will go to PinkDrive to support their continued efforts to spread the message that early detection can save lives.

“It is not an easy journey to walk. It will force you to the ground and on your knees,” says the Cape Town Gin & Spirits Breast Cancer Warrior to those who too are dealing with the trauma of cancer. “But believe me, you will get stronger and come out stronger on the other side.”

As you raise a toast this Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to women like Chantelle fighting the good fight, celebrate life with a Pink Lady G&T. Purchase a bottle of Cape Town The Pink Lady Gin at your nearest liquor store.

Named after Cape Town landmark, The Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town The Pink Lady Gin uses only the finest, handpicked rose geranium (pelargonium) petals, an indigenous multi-branched shrub, to give a floral-forward gin. The result? A sip exploding with fresh floral aromas on the nose and rose and Turkish delight on the palate.

For more information on the work by PinkDrive, visit its website at https://pinkdrive.co.za/.

Follow the Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date on all the latest news and offerings and book your gin tasting at the new Cape Town Gin & Spirits Emporium at the V&A Waterfront on the website.

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