The CHOC Cows are a national NPO, raising funds for CHOC (Childhood Haematology and Oncology Clinics) in particular and various other childhood cancer related charities.
As The Cows have gained momentum and membership, the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) based Cows decided we wanted to do more than just participate in our individual capacities.
We wanted to pool our resources and strengths and generate exponential growth in our fundraising capacity. And so the KZN CHOC Cows herd came together to form a committee to help co-ordinate locally within KZN the various members of The Cows, grow the membership of The Cows and drive local fundraising efforts; we are all part of the National CHOC Cows herd, we fall “under” the National NPO and all monies raised go into the National budget. This supports the work of CHOC across South Africa, thus ensuring there is support and access to education and care for as many children as possible and not only those in major centres.
Who are The CHOC Cows, where did it all begin?
We are a group of friends on a mission to change the world, one paddock at a time. Armed with the slogan “Love Living Life” we aim to raise funds for cancer related charities for the purpose of delivering projects for these charities.
The massive fundraising project all started with a 20-month-old little girl named Jessica Madison Bain. In April 2007, she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Stage 4 at the tender age of 10 months. The months that followed consisted of weeks at a time in hospital and 6 rounds of intensive chemotherapy.
By October 2007, Jessica was in remission and it was decided that a Stem Cell Transplant would be her best chance at long term survival. The Stem Cell Transplant went well. Unfortunately in January 2008 the cancer was back and this time there could be no more treatment as her little body would not tolerate it. During this time, Lynda Schutte, the CHOC Bereavement Counsellor became an absolute rock for the family. Lynda guided the family through a very dark time. On 27 February 2008, Jessica passed away peacefully at home with her parents.
Her spirit and life has inspired the creation of The Cows and her memory lives on through all The Cow projects underway. In 2008, Kerrin and Grant, Jessica’s parents, decided to cycle the 94.7 Challenge in memory of Jess and to raise money for CHOC. Kerrin’s colleague and friend, Cordi van Niekerk, heard about her fundraising project and he and a group of friends got together and decided to help raise money by cycling the race in cow suits.
And so the CHOC Cow initiative was born, since their inception The Cows have raised more than – R24 million and counting. That’s a lot of help for a lot of families and children as they navigate diagnosis, treatment and recovery (and unfortunately in some instances bereavement).