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My Cancer is Not Me – Mrs SA Princess and Mrs Globe Hopeful Noeline Rajbally Shares her Story

28 February 2024 – Shortly before the 2023 Dallmayr Mrs South Africa Grand Finale and crowning event held in November last year, contestant Noeline Rajbally received shocking news: the lump in her breast was a tumour.

Now, mere days after her final radiation session, and unwilling to let anything hold her back, Noeline is preparing to proudly represent the country at the upcoming 2024 Mrs Globe pageant as the Mrs South Africa First Princess. She will set off to Hainan, often referred to as the Hawaii of China, at the end of February to begin her 10-day Mrs Globe journey.

“I don’t intend to let cancer define me, but I want to use my experience to raise awareness and help women not only on their health journey, but in their lives in general. I share my story because I am a healthy, active woman without a family history of breast cancer, and no unhealthy smoking and drinking habits – and yet I was still diagnosed with cancer,” she says.

“All this has taught me that early detection is crucial. My appeal to other women is to be aware of the signs, to check your bodies regularly, to go for screenings if you are concerned, and to stay healthy.”

A blessing in disguise

Noeline learned of her tumour through a series of seemingly unrelated, but fortuitous events which began when her legs fell asleep while sitting in her room one morning.

“I was getting ready for another eventful day two or so weeks before the Mrs SA finale. Knowing I’d be busy, I got my social media content ready for the day. But when I got up, my legs were numb and I fell, hitting and bruising my wrist.

“The day went on without a hitch, and that night I applied a strong pain-relief spray. Some of it got onto my chest and, because it causes a burning sensation on the skin, I tried to rub it off immediately. That’s when I found the lump. To me, it seems like divine intervention now, because I probably would not have found it so early otherwise.”

Her general practitioner initially didn’t appear too worried, as Noeline didn’t present with other symptoms and a mammogram didn’t reveal any cause for alarm. Out of caution, she was also sent for an ultrasound followed by a biopsy, which then confirmed the bad news. Read more about breast cancer…

She underwent surgery just one week after the Dallmayr Mrs South Africa Grand Finale event, followed by 30 radiation therapy sessions, five days a week for six weeks. With this behind her, Noeline now feels ready to take on the world – and, more specifically, Mrs Globe.

“I am more than just a cancer survivor – I am a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur and a life coach,” she emphasises.

“But this experience and my experience with Mrs SA has given me a new perspective on who I am and what I’m capable of. I feel empowered and purpose-driven to elevate and inspire other women and children. That’s exactly why I first entered Mrs SA, and why I’m going to Mrs Globe in a few days’ time.”

Flying SA’s flag on the world stage

As the first Dallmayr Mrs South Africa contestant to participate at Mrs Globe in several years, Noeline realises that expectations are high, but believes that she has everything it takes to be successful. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of the last South African to win Mrs Global back in 2015: Riana Mooi, who was also a Mrs South Africa First Princess.

“Learning about Riana’s victory years ago definitely served as one of my inspirations to participate myself this year. She carried the crown with grace, and I hope to follow her example and inspire others to pursue their dreams,” she says.

Noeline will be dressed by the best of South Africa’s designers, including the acclaimed Gerrit Pienaar. Her national costume was designed by Dr B, the fashion doctor, and her awards evening gown and finale gown by the talented Francois Vedemme, with a King Protea-inspired headpiece by Yuanita Du Toit of the SA School of Hatmaking. She will be styled by the official stylist for Mrs South Africa, Anja Cruse-Bothma of iStylist.

Dallmayr Mrs South Africa CEO Joani Johnson believes that Noeline has the qualities needed to bring home the crown. “If anyone can do it, it’s Noeline. Even in a room filled with pageant royalty, she always seems to somehow stand out in the crowd through her passion, determination, and grace.

“Since becoming a First Princess, she has time-and-time-again gone out of her way to help others and carry on Mrs SA’s values and legacy. We look forward to seeing her enter the spotlight again, because we just know that she will make us and all South Africans very proud.”

Dallmayr Mrs South Africa is the leading pageant for married women in South Africa. Often referred to as the MBA of Life, the programme provides women from all backgrounds with valuable skills in leadership, business, personal brand management, and philanthropy, while encouraging personal growth.

Mrs South Africa is made possible by its kind sponsors: Dallmayr Coffee, PR Worx, Clearwater Mall, Chery Krugersdorp, Skin Renewal, Hirsch’s Homestore, Brentoni Eyewear, BTL, Slimz, Protein Feed Haircare, Urbantrend, PKF Octagon, iStyle, Espavo Hair Design, Action Coach, Truewood Furniture, Kryolan Professional Makeup, Flora Mystique, Collagen Lift Paris, Wild Africa Cream, Lashout by Monise Beauty, Maskscara, Whirlpool, Wild Coast Sun, Karma Clothing, Caribbean Tan, and IME.

Image credit: @Noeline Rajbally @Mrs South Africa

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