The doctor who couldn’t ignore the call of our rainbow nation

The doctor who couldn’t ignore the call of our rainbow nation

Rainbow Oncology is the realisation of Dr Waldemar Szpak’s dream of providing comprehensive support and personalised attention for cancer patients within a friendly and tranquil location.

The Assagay Oasis Health and Wellness Centre in which Rainbow Oncology’s Shongweni premises can be found, was created with the aim to provide a calm and relaxing setting that offers, amongst other things, holistic, comprehensive and integrated cancer care which includes treatment that goes beyond simple medical care.

In addition to the Hillcrest Rainbow Oncology Cancer Care Centre, Assagay Oasis Health and Wellness Centre is home to various other essential support services such as a Dietician, Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Biokineticist, Audiologist, as well as Nursing and Wound care. Assagay Oasis also boasts the tranquility of a Spa and P.S. Hair Studio. “Patients are looked after in ways that doesn’t just relate to their illness here,” explains Dr Szpak. “If they are able to look good and take care of themselves and be treated, they feel better. The environment is also very conducive to healing for both the patient and their loved ones. Life can be challenging at the best of times and the diagnosis of cancer can be life changing,” says Dr Szpak. “We want to ensure that our patients are as comfortable as possible during their treatment.”

Polish born and having emigrated to South Africa in 1992, Dr Szpak has put in many years in the public sector, previously holding the position of Principal Medical Officer at the Department of Medicine and CCU at Addington Hospital.

His urgent desire to treat patients within their own communities, where they can receive the care required close to their families and caregivers, comes from his love of people. As a young boy growing up in communist Poland, he dreamed of travelling the world and learning about all the vibrant and unique cultures within it. He qualified as a doctor, specialising in internal medicine in Poland and spent three years living in Germany with his family before deciding to emigrate to South Africa. “I was intrigued with the concept of our Rainbow Nation,” he says, explaining why he chose the name Rainbow for his oncology cancer care centres.

Like a rainbow is white light broken into its different wave-lengths, the wellness centre approach to patient care at Rainbow Oncology is made up of more than just one method of treatment. “We work with other doctors, practitioners and service providers so that the patient and their family have all their needs met. Just as a rainbow is a beacon of hope after a storm, Rainbow Oncology provides hope for patients and their families.”

Dr Szpak’s mission has led to the establishment of Rainbow Oncology Cancer Care Centres opening in proximity to Parklands, Nu- Shifa, Chatsmed, Hillcrest and Shelley Beach. The Shongweni facility offers patients closer to Hillcrest access to the best treatment by a handpicked team of staff including Dr Shona Bhadree and Jaishanthan Reddy, who are dedicated and efficient without the need for a visit to a clinical hospital environment. Rainbow Oncology has its focus on compassionate care which is people orientated. “The staff all do whatever they can for the patient’s well being, it is paramount,” explains Dr Szpak. “We are always aiming to do more and be more.”

Dr Szpak

The multicultural and diverse nature of South Africa, rather than being problematic, attracted Dr Szpak to South Africa. “South Africa was said to be the entire world within one country”, said Dr Szpak. After first arriving in South Africa in 1992, he spent the next decade at the helm of the Department of Medicine at Addington Hospital and then the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine at the University of Natal, Durban where in 2002 Dr Szpak qualified as a Fellow in the College of Medicine in Oncology.

He left South Africa in 2003 to further pursue his oncological interests at the Northern Centre for Cancer Treatment in Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK as a consultant specialist in clinical oncology, but, as any patriotic South African will know, once this country gets under your skin you always want to return. In 2004, whilst watching the Springboks playing Scotland in Durban before the Rugby World Cup Tournament, Dr Szpak heard the crowd singing the national anthem and realised that he too was now a part of this amazing Rainbow Nation which was calling him, even as far away as he was. He answered the call and returned to Durban where he joined Amanzimtoti Oncology Services, the precursor to what would become RAINBOW ONCOLOGY.

Where to find them

Located at 57 Assagay Road, off Kassier Road, near the Hillcrest Private Hospital, Kemayu Health & Wellness Oasis offers brand new facilities, safe parking and a beautiful garden location where visitors can enjoy a host of Health and Wellness services to treat the body, mind and soul.

Dr Shona Bhadree and Dr Jaishanthyan Reddy are part of the Assagay Team.


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