President of the Association

  • Our President

    A strong woman who looks at life with such hope and love, Raziye Kocaismail is a selfish woman – if anything – for choosing to spend each and every day with loved ones and forgetting every day which was spent unhappy.

    Raziye was born in 1949, the eldest and only daughter of three to parents Zeliha and Veli Canbolat, and therefore she was treasured by her family. Her childhood was a blissful one, with Raziye citing that the one negative was the hostility and war with the Greek Cypriots. Veli Canbolat was said to have a beautiful voice, and Raziye happily recalls a traditional concert of classical music at every meal.

    Television not having played a part in her childhood years, Raziye remembers the winter nights where the entertainment was their father reading novels aloud to herself and her siblings. In fact, Raziye clearly remembers when electricity first came into their lives, especially when studying. To this day she expects lightbulbs to burn out long before they do. For Raziye to have had electricity at all in this period demonstrates how lucky and cherished she was.

     Raziye began elementary school at Akıncılar and was a lovely, popular student amongst her peers and her teachers – where she continued to study at Akıncılar throughout middle school. Raziye’s long term respect for teachers is returned to her after all these years.

     Teachers, especially the school principal Numan Ali Levent, are never able to forget Raziye; having once joked ‘your Turkish is very good, when you grow up we’ll make you an announcer.’ This had actually come true, however not in Turkish, but in Greek and Akıncılar was a village bordering the Greeks – who had dispersed amongst the people. It is also widely known that in Akıncılar, the Turkish Cypriots often speak more Greek than any other language.

    Although there was a full year between Raziye and her middle sibling, they had studied in the same class, going to high school at the same time. Raziye, went to the Nicosia Turkish Girl’s High school, and her brother to the Trade School. At her boarding school, Raziye became a popular student and began to write a great deal of poetry; a very productive time in her life. However, her education was stopped after only one year of high school as she lost her treasured grandfather.

    Around the time of the Greek-Turkish conflict, Raziye’s father was captured as a prisoner of war by the Greeks. In return, the villagers captured a Greek man. Raziye’s father was eventually returned, yet from that day forth, Mr. Veli’s life became harder. The Greeks had issued an arrest warrant, causing Veli Canbolat to spend time in prison. The year Raziye left high school, her father became ill, preventing her from returning in the new semester or leaving the village.

    In 1966, having left high school, Raziye was married off to a young teacher from the family named Nejat Kocaismail by the family elders. Only seventeen years old, she is too young for marriage. Loving children with a passion, she became a mother to her first of three children, Korman. Child-rearing was great challenge to Raziye, as were household chores. Whilst she struggled with these newfound responsibilities, her mother Zeliha came to the rescue.


    Raziye states that if her mother had not been there, she would have struggled much more. In this period, Mr. Veli’s illness gets worse and cannot leave the village to see a doctor. There was nothing for her to do for her dear beloved father.


    As a novice housewife, Raziye Kocaismail is the first to buy a brand new washing machine. Realizing her faults with housekeeping, she decided to develop her skills.

    She reads many books and begins to enter the kitchen more regularly, rather than bestow the duties upon her mother. Always full of energy, she creates a large circle of friends who gather often in her home. Having always wanted four kids; two girls, two boys, yet having three consecutive boys, Raziye gave up with having further children. Her son’s Veli and Huseyin were born in 1972 and 1977 respectively.

    In 1969, Ms. Raziye’s father becomes worse. The island is seeing a wave of peace therefore Vali Canbolat can travel to England for treatment. However, 42 year-old Veli never returns to Cyprus. Losing her father affected Raziye more than she could have imagined, and also affected their business – the only petrol station and shop in Akıncılar.

    After the 1974 Peace Movement, the Kocaismail routine changes once again. Nejat Bey is appointed to Akdoğan village and Raziye finally moves away from her mother, taking control of her own home.

    As a teacher’s wife, Raziye organises for poor students to have the same opportunities as others. She also enriches her kitchen, with her home never empty. As wifely duties begin to grow on her, so does her ambition. She opens a shop in Akdoğan and life becomes busy.

    Whilst pregnant with her youngest son, Raziye Kocaismail closes the market. She returns to work life once he starts school. She also becomes a professional cook when her brother Ramadan opens a patisserie and helps her further her skills. In the 80s, she goes to work in her brother’s patisserie in England.

    In 1991, a period where she worked day and night, Raziye became uncomfortable with the cysts under her breasts. The cysts multiplied on her chest and her underarms, which also looked bad. Although her strength weakened and she was constantly tired, she does not dismiss this as a terrible time in her life.

    Overwhelmed by a close relative’s breast cancer diagnosis, Raziye immediately goes for tests in both the Lefkosa hospital and the South of Cyprus. The results were cancer. Raziye did not believe the doctors. In fact she refused to believe she was dying. Explaining to her children was hard but explaining to her mother was harder. Her father had also been 42 years old when he died of leukaemia. It was strange that Raziye too was 42 and going to England.

    Although it was a struggle, having gone through several operations and treatment, Raziye did not think death suit her, therefore decided to keep fighting on. Thankfully her family was by her side. She missed her sons and family in Cyprus, but was affected financially by these procedures. She became even stronger.

     Having seen the space between life and death, Raziye still has pride. She first refused to take money from a charity even held for her, but after a phone call from her youngest son, she does so – with the stipulation in her head that she will set up a cancer support group when she gets better. After 10 long months of pain and hurt, at the end of 1992, Raziye is able to return to her loved ones in Cyprus.

    She starts the Cancer Patients Help Association to assist financially those who helped her or were in the same situation as her. However her family are against her working too much again. First she began circulating around her own village, for whatever people may need. She had made up her first list. The association became more real, with 2485 people by December 2001. Due to the work of the organisation, the population’s view of cancer began to change. She realised the right treatment and love of life could be the key in helping those with cancer, however it was also important not to fear it. She was hurt when she found out family members had hid their own cancer from her.

    Raziye Kocaismail became president of the Association. Ms. Raziye stated that she realized it was not something to be ashamed of; the disease. As an example to patients, she told them not to hide, to live more actively and emphasize the necessity of loving life. Patients should be told that chemotherapy is a very heavy treatment, but in turn, that saves human lives. Emphasizing the need to be able to beat cancer, Raziye, says she found peace when spending for the association and helping people. She raised money for members of the association by hosting events.

    For someone to be healthy, they must always watch out for signs their body is telling them, whether positive or not. It’s also important not to think the worst of any situation as it is also detrimental to your health.

    In the first years of the establishment of the association Ms. Raziye considered it revenge against cancer, visiting patients in hospital. In those years, the patient was kept away from her and their families, yet that’s all changed now. They called for volunteers, had donation boxes and set up 2nd hand goods stores. There was a lot of interest from government officials, peacekeepers and also the general public. Raziye particularly thanked the interest and efforts of the Turkish Cypriot community in England.

    With all of the income made from the various activities, the association has managed to obtain special underwear for women, wigs and other necessities for those less fortunate. With horror, Raziye explains that each year the number of cancer patients multiply and they work hard to support the people in hospitals as well.

    Not only is financial instability a problem, or lack of finances altogether, but so is the lack of experts on the island. The association works with the government in a coordinated manner to ensure patients get what they need. They also help those who need to go abroad for their treatment, whether with spending money, tickets or other financial and practical items.



    Raziye Hanim speaks of an oncology centre, which was made during the time of Dr. Gülsen Bozkurt. She believes that approximately 300-400 people get cancer every year, and went to the help of the government as these numbers made her personally uncomfortable. After some studies, it also showed that the region with the most cancer was Güzelyurt and the two most common cancers were breast and prostate, in women and men respectively. This study was to shine a light on the issue and make sure people were vigilant in checking themselves.

    Following the established oncology services for adults, Raziye explained that they aimed for an oncology service for children. Experts and facilities are to be provided by the state to get rid of astronomical spending by the states and abroad.

    With breast, uterine and prostate cancer being most common in adults, and leukaemia in children, Ms. Raziye warns to keep children from taking anti-biotic often until it emerges what the consequences are. She also states that until studies show what can cause cancer, people should obtain healthier lifestyles and cut down on the majority-meat diet.

    The Kemal Saracoglu Foundation now for the early diagnosis of cancer as a life-saving epidermis map carried out the study with Raziye Kocaismail asking for everyone to participate in this study for public health and calling the whole society. She stated that cancer did not equal death, and for people to take her as an example.

    Over a decade of helping society has rewarded Raziye Kocaismail and her team morally and with physical rewards. 12th December 2000, the Necati Özkan Trust awarded the Cancer Patients Help Association with an award for positive change. The Eastern Mediterranean Women’s Research and Education Centre awarded the 2001 Most Successful Women award to Raziye Kocaismail. In 1996, Raziye won her most worthy award – Mother of the Year – by the Women’s Union and Council.

    Raziye shone a light on the fact that to fight cancer you need to enjoy life, listen to doctors and be selfish in living your life for your loved ones and yourself. It was also important to live in an environment which was happy and productive, remembering that you can fight it.

    Other that the association, Ms. Raziye also worked as a Greek News Announcer on BRT and she says that this affected her a lot. She sacrificed her pay to continue doing her job because she enjoyed languages, and this helped prepare her for a life of volunteering.

    A full life, where 24 hours have never been enough, Raziye Hanim states that life’s biggest luxury was having a grandchild. After knocking on death’s door, to see and enjoy the company of her grandchildren is the greatest feeling of all. Life is beautiful, and for a strong woman such as Raziye Kocaismail, it is important to share this message.