Joppie Fourie has been on the road nearly every day since leaving his home on the sixth of August last year, pushing a modified hospital bed weighing up to 115kg around South Africa to raise awareness and raise funds for cancer patients, after losing his own daughter to the disease.
This week his travels have brought him to Port Elizabeth, where he will be visiting hospitals and schools, as well as a number of functions around the Bay, to raise awareness.
Fourie, who hails from Oudshoorn, will have covered over 5 100 kilometres and would have stopped at 113 towns by the time his year long trip comes to an end, in his Ten Million Steps for Cancer campaign.
Fourie’s 17 year old daughter, Marlené, was born on 9 August 1991 and passed away on 5 July 2009 after suffering from a very aggressive and extremely painful type of bone cancer, known as Ewing sarcoma. It is a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or in soft tissue. The most common areas in which it occurs are the pelvis, the femur, the humerus, the ribs and clavicle.
Fourie says that the sole mission of his Ten Million Steps for Cancer is “to inspire cancer patients, create and promote awareness for the suffering brought about by cancer and to raise funds for various needs regarding cancer.”
Just before he left Oudshoorn, Fourie shaved his head and beard in solidarity with cancer patients and has vowed not to shave again until he returns home.
Having walked the length and breadth of South Africa, the now full bearded Fourie has brought his message of hope to thousands of cancer patients, inspired by his own daughter’s words, ““The darkest hour in life only lasts 60 minutes.”
“By doing the Ten Million Steps for Cancer I wish to share and demonstrate the tough road that those who are suffering from cancer are on daily. This project is my passion and lies very close to my heart. I know from experience what people and their families go through when a person suffers from cancer and would love to make a difference to all of them,” he said.
If you wish to contribute to Fourie’s initiative, the banking details are:
Donations to trust: Bank: ABSA Beneficiary: Ten Million steps for cancer Trust Account number: 9264551428
Donations- running cost of project: ABSA Benificiary: Ten million steps for cancer Account number : 9259933348
Swift code (for overseas donors): ABSAJJ
Alternatively, you can make a small donation of R1,50 by simply SMSing the word cancer to 33903