A 63-year-old Sea Point resident who once battled tuberculosis (TB), is using his feet and his passion for making a difference, to support TB patients through his Two feet for TB initiative.
Despite the disease killing more people in South Africa than any other, measures to support TB patients are not as readily available as those in place for HIV or cancer patients, says South African National Tuberculosis Association provincial manager, Derick Esterhuizen.
With the hope of addressing this disparity, Mr Stacey plans to run marathons to raise TB awareness and recruit donors to sponsor food parcels for TB patients on the Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) programme.
Mr Stacey hopes to participate in a minimum of one full marathon, one ultra marathon and one road cycling race every month over the next five years and for every kilometre covered, donate a sponsored food parcel to a TB patient. On Thursday June 29, Mr Stacey handed over the first seven food parcels donated by Kids on the Bay pupils in Camps Bay SANTA, which will go toward feeding seven patients currently being treated for TB.
“I am a TB survivor; that’s why I’m doing this. I will be running in every upcoming marathon to get sponsored food parcels to those on the dot system because the parcels are an incentive, it’s not charity. I am just using my feet to help others.”
“It’s tough and I train six days a week come rain or shine. I have to be out there because I’m doing it for a good reason. Those who are getting the food parcels are based in the Mitchell’s Plain area and don’t have a lot. Sports is a good tool to help and serve others,” said Mr Stacey.
Mr Esterhuizen, said nutrition was one of the most important contributors to the successful treatment of TB patients, adding that sometimes patients were so weak that their medication didn’t work effectively.
“This is possibly the reason so many people die of TB. If we can manage to get their immune system improve, they stand a better chance at surviving. SANTA always preaches that TB is curable, this is probably why it doesn’t get as much attention.
“It’s the number one killer and has death tolls higher than HIV or cancer. All the money is pumped into HIV treatment but that is not what patients die from. They die from TB,” said Mr Esterhuizen.
He added that they supported Mr Stacey’s initiative because they thought it was a great project which would grow over time.
Mr Stacey hopes to get a sponsored food parcel for every kilometer he runs, with the next race he will tackle, being the 50km ultra marathon at the The Cape Town Festival of running on Saturday July 22.
For more information you can contact Mr Stacey on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Facebook page for more information https://www.facebook.com/2Feet4TB/