Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter to speak at Westport fundraiser
WESTPORT — Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of former South African leader and activist Nelson Mandela, has been named the special guest speaker at the Global Access to Cancer Care Foundation’s fundraiser this month in Westport.
Zoleka is also an international speaker, author, two-time breast cancer survivor, and the first ambassador for GACCF, a global medical humanitarian nonprofit that offers education, technology, and access to training workshops for physicians in low- and middle-income countries.
“We’re here to transform access to cancer world wide,” said Tonya Steiner, executive director of GACCF. “We’re looking to solve the major issues that restrict and compromise cancer treatment in what is considered over 80 percent of the people around the globe.”
The fundraiser will take place Sept. 18 at Pearl at Longshore Restaurant and Bar on Compo Road South at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets can be purchased for $100 at www.pearlatlongshore.com/zoleka-event/.
“We chose Westport because it’s a big-hearted community with a global mindset,” Steiner said. “There’s a reach in Westport that can be a positive influence on all patients and physicians while having a heavy focus on women and pediatric cancer.”
Proceeds from the event will provide training through GACCF’s oncology education programs for countries in South America, Africa and Asia. Steiner said the training courses and workshops aim to enhance cancer treatment in low-income countries and will have a heavy focus on radiotherapy treatment.
“That’s an essential component in more than 50 percent of all cancer patients along with surgery and chemotherapy,” she said.
To create a sustainable longterm education model, Steiner said her foundation trains physicians within the countries.
“We partner with universities and hospitals within the countries. We’re also training the cancer care professionals that live in those towns and will actually treat those patients,” Steiner said, adding the nonprofit also does follow-up programs.
The event’s theme — hope — ties in nicely with the foundation’s chosen guest speaker as well.
“Zoleka Mandela is an author, an activist, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, but she’s also a mom and two-time breast cancer survivor,” Steiner said. “The reason she decided to join our GACCF family was to use her voice to create an opporunity to live in a world without fear of cancer.”
The event will also focus on empowering women to pursue changing the world beyond their community.
“This evening of hope is within us all,” Steiner said. “This is the opportunity for everybody to get involved. Zoleka is a direct representation of that.”