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Project Flamingo is an initiative that is all about supporting women who are fighting breast cancer in Cape Town's public health sector.

It was founded in 2010 by surgeon Dr Liana Roodt, who wanted to find a way to alleviate the burden on women in the public health sector needing medical and psychological help.

In order to curb the anxiety of long waiting lists for surgery, Dr Roodt decided to embark on catch-up surgeries.

With breast cancer, surgery is the first step in the treatment process. So nothing else can happen until the surgery is done.

Dr Liana Roodt, Founder of Project Flamingo

The project funds and pays for theatre time and nursing staff, while Dr Roodt operates on a pro bono basis.

Dr Roodt explains that the surgery waiting time in the public health sector is anything from 12 to 13 weeks.

That's the reality, if not more a lot of our public healthcare institutions. It's a system that is under severe pressure.

Dr Liana Roodt, Founder of Project Flamingo

Each surgery that Project Flamingo sponsors cost about R3000 in nursing and consumable fees. Surgeons and anaesthetists donate their time and skills for free.

Project Flamingo Executive Director Michelle Rennie says that she was personally moved by the initiative as a breast cancer survivor herself.

It resonated with me... I was very privileged to be able to have my surgery within days of diagnosis.

Michelle Rennie, Executive Director at Project Flamingo

The initiative works closely with Groote Schuur Hospital, Tygerberg Hospital and False Bay Hospital.

In 2017 alone, Project Flamingo has scheduled at least 130 surgeries for women with breast cancer.

Visit the Project Flamingo website to learn more.

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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Project Flamingo steps up for Cape's breast cancer patients

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