Tannie Evita is getting serious

AS a high-profile South African of a certain age, much-loved Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout knows the increasing importance of looking after her health – and will be visiting Port Elizabeth next month to address a breast cancer awareness gala in Summerstrand.

Nelson Mandela Bay public relations specialist Michelle Brown is starting October – international Breast Cancer Awareness Month – with a dinner to be held at the Summerstrand Inn on Wednesday October 2.

Although more and more cases of breast cancer are hitting younger women, its main victims are older women. According to the US National Cancer Institute, the average age at which women were diagnosed with breast cancer from 2006-10 was 61 years old, while the average age of women who died from the illness was 68.

In the UK, between 2008 and 2010, four out of five (80%) of all diagnoses were in the over 50s, with nearly half (45%) in women aged 65 and over.

And while entertainer Pieter-Dirk Uys's alter ego Tannie Evita may shudder at the thought of discussing her age, it certainly is imperative to demystify the illness – the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances are of surviving the illness.

The fabulous speaker will put her best foot forward at next month's event, which is a "girls' night out" and includes gifts for each guest.

"This is the 12th year that I am doing the event, not only in memory of my late mom, but also as a tribute to all those women who have fought this dreaded disease. I host this function in celebration of these women," Brown said.

All money raised at the event will go to the Look Good, Feel Better Foundation, run by volunteers who advise women undergoing chemotherapy on how to apply make-up and use wigs, so that they can – literally – "look good and feel better".

The annual breast cancer function has in the past featured celebrities ranging from Janez Vermeiren of Top Billing, Anneline Kriel-Bacon, Derek Watts, Anele Mdoda and Bob Skinstad, all of whom spoke for no fee, enabling more money to go to the chosen cancer charity.

And just how old is Tannie Evita? Only a lady with no class would dare to ask her directly, but, with such a youthful sparkle, she is likely to retort that she is only as old as (the man) she feels.

Tickets are R300, bookings and further information from Brown, (041)581-6424.