Established in 2002 by cancer survivors Carl Liebenberg and Linda Greef, PLWC focused the formative years of the organisation establishing a peer-to-peer cancer support programme, the first of its kind in South Africa. As time progressed, PLWC has broadened their perspective, taking root in the role of an umbrella organisation, parenting numerous cancer-aligned projects. These projects find synergy through collaborative work, and join forces in a way that is both complementary and creative.

The PLWC mission is the driving force behind our organisation. It is simple, yet it has held us in good stead, and steered the way for the organisation to become the reputable leader in cancer support that it is today. Our mission is to create a nation-wide support structure for people living with cancer, cancer survivors, and their families. As an umbrella organisation, we build innovative partnerships between organisations, projects and initiatives with the same goal: cancer awareness, education, screening, prevention, patient support, survivorship, and advocacy. 

Independent function is encouraged with regards to organisations, partnerships and projects that fall within the PLWC structure, with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that governs the working relationships between the partners. All of the PLWC member projects function as an inclusive team, upholding the same collective aim: to build an integrated and effective civil society organisation that serves to represent the voices of cancer patients in South Africa.

list of directors


Carl Liebenberg

Carl Liebenberg was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 to 1999 and took a one year sabbatical to undergo extensive chemotherapy and surgery. It was from this personal experience with cancer that in 2002 he co-founded PLWC and Cancer Buddies organisations. He is also currently serving as Director at The Health Foundation, an independent not-for-profit company created with the aim to conduct fundraising activities and to form strategic commercial partnerships with the private sector, in order to expand the resource pool available to public health care facilities in the Western Cape, South Africa.

He holds a Bachelor of Business Science and an MBA in Finance and Economics from UCT. He has been involved in the financial services industry for over 20 years, specialising in investment management, corporate finance and advisory solutions for clients’ existing business interests as well as capital raising and private equity funds management. Carl has also served as Investment Banker at RMB Private Bank and he is currently Principal Corporate Advisory at Prescient Wealth Management, advising high net worth clients on domestic and international investment and financial planning. He sits on the Audit and Risk Committee of PLWC and he has also developed policies and procedures for other non profit organisations.


Janie du Plessis

Janie du Plessis became known as a young TV journalist and media personality in the early 80’s while studying at the UJ in Johannesburg. After spending many years abroad, she was diagnosed with breast cancer 19 years ago and returned to South Africa, with her two sons, Misha and Benito in 1999.

In 2000 she started her own property business, offering conceptual project management services to property developers. Her lifelong passion for participating in charity causes was ongoing throughout. She successfully blended her passion for charity projects with her strategic business skills, her media and marketing abilities as well as her ability to communicate with audiences as an inspirational speaker. In 2014 Janie accepted the position as CEO of PLWC where she currently serves as an executive member of the Board as well as a member of the Audit and Risk committee of the organisation.

Prof Monique Zaahl.jpg


Prof Monique Zaahl is the founder and CEO of GENEdiagnostics (Pty) Ltd. which was established in 2010. She completed her PhD (SU) in Human Genetics in 2003 and MBA in 2012 (USB). As a Commonwealth Split-site scholar, she completed part of her study at Oxford University. 

She has been involved in various research projects for more than 20 years investigating the possible underlying genetic cause of diseases. She has published 26 research articles in international peer-reviewed journals, one book chapter, a review article in the field of human genetics, holds 5 patents and has trained numerous postgraduate students. Prof Zaahl was also the recipient of the 2006 South African National Research Foundation “Women in Science” award, in the category “Best emerging young scientist”, has been awarded the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) awards, category: Young Black Researcher, in 2009, was a recipient of the National Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze in 2010, and several others awards. She currently serves on the Boards of Terrasan Pelagic Fisheries and PLWC as a non-Executive director and the Audit and Risk Committee of PLWC

Under the leadership of Prof Zaahl, GENEdiagnostics was awarded the SMME Award for most innovative company (awarded by AfricaGrowth) in 2013, was selected to form part of a Bridge International Bootcamp (sponsored by ABSA, Barclays, CEDAR and Stellenbosch University) in 2014 and has recently (2018) been selected as a Shanduka Blackumbrella company.


Dr Sumi Padayachee

Dr Sumi Padayachee has been a medical practitioner for over 20 years and for over 10 of those years, Breast Cancer diagnosis has been the main focus of her career and private practice as a specialist Breast Radiologist. PLWC is very near and dear to her heart, having lost both her parents to Cancer.

She graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School and undertook her radiology training at the University of the Witwatersrand and Gauteng Academic Hospitals.

She is dedicated to excellent breast and bone healthcare and is focused on providing her patients with the latest innovative solutions to improve and optimise early detection of Breast Cancer and Osteoporosis. She founded ARYA STANA BONE & BREAST CARE, the only dedicated breast and bone imaging centre in Cape Town.

She is a strong advocate of protocol-led- multidisciplinary breast care. She believes that medical practitioners need to focus not only on diagnosing and treating diseases but on the whole patient, including the physical co-morbidities, emotional and psychological ramifications of these diseases.

She currently serves on the PLWC Board as a non-Executive director and on the Remuneration Committee.


Ryan Sherwood

Ryan Sherwood is a cancer survivor, husband and proud father of two sons. He has been involved in the tobacco industry for 23 years, with 12 of those years spent as a director on the board of a Zimbabwean company. He is involved in logistics, commercial, operational and financial departments.

His experience stands him in good stead when adding value to any organisation that demands success, continuity and growth such as PLWC. Ryan is an avid cyclist and founder of Ride 4 Skin Cancer, a project of PLWC. He currently serves as a non-Executive member of the PLWC Board.