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The Naked Difference: A look at the inspiring work CHOC does


From emotional support to accommodation, the Childhood Cancer Foundation offers support to kids (and their families) who have been diagnosed with cancer throughout their treatment.

Every year, around 400,000 children and young adults aged 0-19 are diagnosed with cancer. In high-income countries where comprehensive care and medicine are readily accessible, more than 80% of kids diagnosed with cancer are cured. However, in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs), less than 30% survive. The reasons the survival rates of children diagnosed with cancer are much lower in LMICs are that there is often a delay in diagnosis – an accurate diagnosis – treatment can be inaccessible, and treatment is often abandoned. It’s also been said that many kids in LMICs are left undiagnosed.

Photo cred: Angie Durrant

CHOC is doing its part to improve the cancer survival rate in South Africa

Certain types of cancer are, unfortunately, not preventable. So the most effective way to help kids who are sick is to focus on swift and accurate diagnosis, along with evidence-based treatment and bespoke supportive care.

CHOC was started in 1979 in Johannesburg by parents of children with cancer who saw the need to support other newly diagnosed children and families. In 2000, CHOC became a national body with parent groups all over the country and their main aim was to provide a wide range of support for the children, teenagers, and their families, throughout the long period of treatment.

Here’s the scope of support that CHOC provides to children and teenagers who are diagnosed with cancer

Emotional support for the family

Trained volunteers offer emotional support to the children and their families. CHOC offers support groups by trained volunteers for cancer survivors and parents to help parents of newly diagnosed children, which include their Parent-Supporting-Parent Programme and parent tea at the paediatric oncology unit.

Accommodation for families who don’t live near treatment centres

CHOC has 13 accommodation facilities close to the treatment centres where out-of-town patients and parents or caregivers can stay during the treatment phase. Providing accommodation to families takes a lot of strain off parents who have to travel long distances with their sick children to get treatment. All the houses provide accommodation, transport to and from the hospitals, nutritious meals, and a clean, safe, homely environment with caring and understanding staff. Free of charge. It is a clean and safe environment where new friendships that are caring and supportive are formed.

Photo cred: Angie Durrant

Transport for families who need to get to treatment centres

Successful treatment of the children requires that they visit specialised treatment centres several times over a period of three or more years. For many families, this is obviously a huge financial burden. An important part of CHOC’s support is funding for transport, to make sure that children are brought back in time for the whole course of their treatment.

Direct support for the kids who have been diagnosed

CHOC trains healthcare professionals, healthcare workers, traditional healers, and communities on the early warning signs of childhood cancer. This is done to promote early diagnosis, access to specialised treatment centres and the continuation of treatment. In doing so, they aim to meaningfully reduce the mortality and morbidity rates of children in these communities.

Photo cred: Angie Durrant

Nationwide awareness on cancer

CHOC creates awareness of childhood cancer and CHOC services nationwide through marketing, campaigns, and events to promote early detection.

Training and education to healthcare professionals, traditional healers, and communities

CHOC trains healthcare professionals, healthcare workers, traditional healers, and communities on the early warning signs of childhood cancer. This is done to promote early diagnosis, access to specialised treatment centres, and the continuation of treatment. In doing so, they aim to reduce the mortality and morbidity of children with cancer and possible disabilities related to the disease.

Advocacy and lobbying

CHOC advocates for those affected by childhood cancer and life-threatening blood disorders through alliances, networks, and like-minded organisations nationally and internationally. They also work closely with the National Department of Health on policies to better the lives of children with cancer.

How to get involved

You can donate

You can either make a once-off donation to CHOC or you can pledge your support to CHOC with a monthly debit order donation.

You can join the CHOC Cows

You can raise money for CHOC by fundraising and participating in races and other events. Check it out here.

You can volunteer

CHOC relies on the time, expertise, and help from its volunteers. To become a volunteer, download their application form.

You can choose CHOC as your Naked Difference cause

When claims are low, premiums left over at the end of the year go to causes like CHOC, rather than growing insurance company profits. You can choose CHOC as your Naked Difference cause on the app once you buy a policy.

What is the Naked Difference and how does it make Naked different from other insurers?

When you see or hear “Naked Difference”, Corporate Social Investment might be what comes to mind. But it shouldn’t. The Naked Difference isn’t the icing on the cake as far as social impact goes. The way we’ve built Naked means that causes benefit directly from the way we do business. We’re on a path to do good in an otherwise grudge-purchase industry.

We take a flat fee upfront to cover running costs and profit. The rest of the money goes towards claims, with leftover premiums at the end of the year paid to causes that our clients choose. This is different from other insurers, who take the leftover money as profit: we’ve removed the conflict of interest completely. This is the Naked Difference and it changes everything about insurance.

We’re really passionate about telling people about the Naked Difference and who it supports, so we’re featuring our causes to share what they do within South African communities.


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