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Sharon Kapambwe: Standing on the shoulders of giants- Professor Lynnette Denny
Dec 8, 2023, 15:51

Sharon Kapambwe: Standing on the shoulders of giants- Professor Lynnette Denny

Sharon Kapambwe, Technical Officer Cancer Control at

“Standing on the shoulders of giants- Professor Lynnette Denny

This write up was triggered by Prof’s article on her walk with cancer as a patient and oncologist

I first met Prof. Denny aka Lyn through my readings as I prepared for my thesis for my master’s degree.  I was in awe of how much she had written on cervical cancer, and she was from Africa?  I was filled with admiration just reading about her!

In 2011, I attended my first Africa Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) conference in Durban. There she was on stage, Professor Lynnette Denny! I was so excited to finally see the person behind all that research which I referenced.  My other mentor Prof. Groesbeck Parham introduced us. Just exchange of warm greetings, got so happy! I didn’t meet her after that but was happy to be copied in emails she was on as we now worked in the cervical cancer space.

Four years later, I was invited to speak on HPV vaccination experience in Zambia at meeting in Casablanca, Morocco. I saw her name on the agenda and was so excited that I would have  a second chance to draw some wisdom from the legend. I met her in the lounge in Johannesburg  at OR Tambo International Airport.  I went over and reintroduced myself. She looked busy reading some papers. I was warned she has no time for small talk!

Fortunately, we were on the same flight to Paris then Casablanca and sitting next to each other on the plane. We talked a bit more and she kept working throughout the flight. The trip to Casablanca was the beginning of a great relationship. She has been great in guidance and candid in feedback.  A call  to her is must whenever I am in Cape Town.

Lyn has an amazing work ethic! What she promises she delivers.

I asked how she faces each day with cancer in her face , ‘The moment you keep planning around what if, you get paralysed. I take one day at a time. I have learned to do what is required of me each day as I am able.’

I have truly been blessed to have her in my corner. I need a reference, please review this document, can you take up this assignment, can you be a co-author, let’s meet for tea, etc. moments.  In Rwanda in 2017, she had like nine young women wanting to push her wheelchair. We all just appreciated her contribution to our careers as women as well as pushing for the many voiceless women across our continent.

Was reading her walk with cancer (link below) and I thought time to appreciate this amazing woman who has contributed and keeps contributing immensely to the field of cancer in Africa, and to me as a woman and friend trying to find my way in my career. With lots of admiration by many women and men on the continent and beyond that you keep inspiring Prof.

From my heart to yours. SKK”

For details click here.
Source: Sharon Kapambwe/LinkedIn