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Share YOUR Story of HOPE and Inspire Others

Your story as a cancer survivor (anyone who has heard the words “you have cancer”) or as a loved one or caregiver of someone affected by cancer, can be of great encouragement to others.

Share your story with us – the tears and laughter, the hope and pain, the friendships and solitude…


  • Nasreen says:

    The word Cancer scared me the moment i lost my mom and gran to this. My worst fear became reality when i was diagnosed with Stage 3 Aggressive Breast Cancer. Scared out of my mind mainly for my 2 beautiful kids. They my reason for fighting. I have added a link to my journey from the daily maverick in the hopes for others to continue to smile an fight an never lose hope.

  • Marnique says:

    I was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in 2008 and it was malignant because my tumor was blocking the oxygen flow to my brain. I was 8 years old. I lost my hair, I lost my friends,I lost my growth hormones and I got bullied at school. Today – I am different. I still have no friends because my values rest in the Lord, though I am short my hair grew back, I grew a bit, my nails still grow and I am a survivor. Completely healed and now a motivational speaker.

  • Rihan Bezzy says:

    In 2010 I discovered a lump on my neck. I didn’t think much of it. I fiddled with it a lot though, checking to see if it grew smaller. But instead it grew bigger. Almost doubled in size, daily. I eventually went to see a Dr. I was given antibiotics and told to carefully monitor. Three days later I went for a sonar scan. Two weeks later I went to see a surgeon – scheduled an operation to remove it. A few weeks later the results came back. It was stage 3 Non Hodgkin. Very aggressive and considered a hematological emergency. A few days later I embarked on the “c” word roller coaster. I started intensive chemotherapy. Resigned from work – drew unemployment funds. Continued my journey in a provincial hospital. A year and a half later – after 12 lumbar punctures, 2 bone marrow biopsies, several CAT scans, two MRI scans, countless blood draws, 6 rounds of intensive chemotherapy, at least 6 months of hospital stay, countless Dr visits, tuberculosis, clinic visits,countless pills, hours and hours spent at hospital to see doctors or pick up dispensed medication it came to a finish. I was in remission. My speech is severely hampered, I need happy pills (anti depressants) to get through the day, my lungs are quite damaged – But I recently became father to two beautiful girls (something we thought could/would NEVER happen). I found joy and purpose in them and my new interests. I am glad “the fire inside me burned brighter than the fires around me” I am thankful to my spouse, I am thankful for this second chance and would like to make most of it. So If I can give you advice – no matter how dark it gets, hang in there, there is a silver lining – it might not reveal itself immediately, but it will come.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Rihan thank you for sharing your uplifting and inspirational journey with us. Congratulations on becoming a father to two beautiful girls! Please consider joining our FBK Support Group for cancer patients and loved ones to further inspire others. The group is for patients who have just been diagnosed, those receiving treatment and those in remission. Join here:

  • Tebogo Serutle says:

    It all started in November 2016, I was not feeling well, went to a GP then he gave antibiotics because i had an infection as I had fever. After finishing the course, the fever was still there, went to the Dr again, tested for Malaria but it was negative. I had fever every single day. On the 17th of December I booked my in the hospital to do some tests. Did all sorts of tests,bone marrow biospy, tested the liver it was inflamed but the test results came back negative. My blood levels were low, had blood transfusion. The fever could not be controlled mind you I was still in hospital high care. I told the doctor that i want to be transferred to another hospital with a variety of specialists, in deed he did so. I was transferred to another hospital, I stayed there another month, more tests every day more blood tranfussion. The fever was still very high. The Dr ordered that I do a Thoracotomy (operation) to check my lungs and do a biopsy. I didn’t have any protruding or visible lymph nodes. I received the results after a week. In February 2017 I was told its Hodgkins Lymphoma, Cancer stage 4. Didn’t even know what was that, but the Oncologist assured me that it can be curable. I started Chemo (ABVD) in March until August 2017. It was terrible but my family was very supportive. In April 2018 I received the good news that I’m on remission. I just go for check ups regularly.

  • Kealeboga Tlaila says:

    1 September 2017, the day my life changed… Two weeks earlier I had gone for tests and a biopsy to have the lumps in my left breast checked out.

    When the Friday came to get my results came i was not fazed at all… After all I couldn’t possibly have cancer. It’s not even in my bloodline, as far as I knew there was no cancer in my family and I was 32 years old. The doctors were just being dramatic as someone like me could never be diagnosed with cancer. I was positive that the lumps they detected where just temporary and would eventually fade away.

    So when I went to get the results I went all by myself as I would not need support (so I told myself). I got to the Dr and he said “Mrs Tlaila, I am sorry to be the one to tell you that we have detected cancer in your left breast”. I don’t know, till today how I kept calm at that particular moment. “Would you like us to call a psychologist or your husband?”, he asked. “No”, I responded, “I just need to know what my options are and how best you think we should go about treating the cancer”. The Dr was shocked that I didn’t want to go back home or counselling to digest the bad news he had given me. You see in my mind at this moment, the survivor instinct had immediately kicked in. I had no time for self pity as I understood that with cancer, time is of the essence. By the time I had left the hospital I had already drawn up a consultation plan with him, I knew who my oncologist would be, my surgeon and he had booked appointments with other medical professionals for further tests. I even had the date of when the surgery for my mastectomy would be.

    I only cried later when I was finished with the preparations and only then would I allow myself to mourn the news I had received. I made the necessary calls and gathered all my support arsenals (family and friends). I knew I would need support, change certain aspects of my life and even rid of toxic individuals. I had a plan and I asked God to help me execute it as I was busy studying towards my Degree which the oncologist and my lecturers did not see me being able to finish as the chemotherapy coincided with my exams. Anyone who knows chemo, knows how it affects your memory. I told myself that I would do it, sick or not and that I would graduate in record time. I was not going to be told what I could and could not do. I focused during trying times and managed to graduate in record time.

    As we speak today I have gone through mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. I am on remission. Was it easy? Ofcourse not. But I was determined to live especially for my two babies.

    You see, to me this journey has been a blessing, I have become spiritually in tune with myself. I am strong. I am calm. I am appreciative. I am humble. Lessons which I don’t think I would have learned had I not been diagnosed with cancer. I now have a desire to help other women who do not have what I have, resources such as medical aid. I never really valued being able to afford medical aid. But through this journey I ask myself how those who can’t afford it feel. I want to raise awareness, give support and hope to those who are less fortunate. This desire has prompted me to start an NGO which I have recently registered. The Foundation will focus on life with cancer and beyond.

    I hope this post gets to someone who has lost hope and makes you realise the power of the mind, positive outlook and goodness of God.

  • Hi Everyone

    My name is Mutshidzi Kwinda. I am 21 years old female currently studying towards the bachelor of pharmacy at Rhodes university (3rd year, 2018).

    I was diadnosed with soft tissue sarcoma 3years ago and after undergoing all cancer treatments, Radiotherapy, Surgery and Chemotherapy… i finally survived it in Dec 2017. I wrote an article for encouragement to those going through the same/similar situation. It is more of a testimony and showing that there is nothing impossible when you believe and have faith + determination.

    I hope it will make a difference in one’s life, particularly youth.

    Thank you Xx

  • Rob Clarke says:

    The good times changed for me in November 2011 when I was 57 years old. My wife, Heath and I were lying in bed one morning when she noticed a darkish mole on the middle of my upper back which she had never seen before. We decided to see whether it would disappear over the next two weeks but it did not. I therefore went to see my Dermatologist who I saw on a 6 monthly basis due to my bad skin which I inherited from both my parents. (With my fair skin, I had got sunburnt many times when I was younger and in the Army in the 70’s we all ensured that we had a healthy tan but for me with my fair skin it took many sunburns to get there.) The Dermatologist cut the mole out and said he would send it to the lab for analysis but did not think it looked cancerous because the mole had small roots. However it turned out to be a Melanoma and the issue was whether it was malignant or not. I was still not too worried as both my daughter, Lisa and my brother Guy had non-malignant Melanomas cut out shortly before this. However, I needed surgery to cut the melanoma out properly and because it was more than a millimetre thick, I needed to have two lymph nodes removed from under my arm for biopsy purposes to ensure there was no spread of the cancer. This was around the time I did my annual 94.7 cycle race. I did the race and had surgery shortly afterwards. I woke up from the surgery and found that my armpit was sore following the removal of two lymph nodes.
    I had surgery on the Thursday and received a call from the surgeon’s office on the following Monday. He claimed that I had nothing to worry about as the biopsy was clear of any cancer. I was extremely relieved. On that Thursday we went on our annual Company board meeting (I was MD) outing to Val de Grace in Parys. We all played golf on the Thursday. I could not play following my surgery but followed the golfers around in a golf cart. At half way I checked my phone and there was a message from my surgeon that I had to phone him urgently. I feared the worse and phoned him at the end of the game. My fears were confirmed that after a few days the biopsy indicated the presence of cancer! He instructed me to meet him on the Monday. Anyway, I had a worrying night and still had to lead the board meeting the following morning without telling anyone that I had cancer! I obviously immediately phoned my wife, Heath.
    On Monday morning I duly met the surgeon at his surgery in Rosebank. He suggested that I should now have surgery to remove all the lymph nodes in my affected right arm area. However he decided to phone a very experienced Oncologist in the centre, and get his opinion. The Oncologist was against surgery and preferred treatment for my cancer. Through contacts I had established, mainly on my Brother Pete’s advice that taking all your lymph nodes out would leave you with a very swollen and possibly useless arm. I did not want that so accepted the Oncologist’s decision.
    At that time, I felt I had to know more about melanoma cancer and so googled it. I was shocked to hear that the life expectancy for anyone suffering from melanoma cancer was 5 years. I immediately shut the site down and have never looked at it again. You see I did not need any negativity to creep in. I needed to stay positive to fight this disease!
    I recall in December 2011 having to break my holiday in the Berg and come back for a Pet Scan. My son, Ryan joined me and we drove back from the Berg. (He wanted to see his girlfried, Anastasia)
    A Pet Scan is not the most pleasant occurrence. After not eating since the previous evening, you are then required to sit in a dark room for an hour and keep motionless. You then are scanned through an MRI type scanner for about 45 minutes to one hour. This is a whole body scan. Prior to being scanned, your sugar levels are tested and then you are injected with a glucose type injection. You see the glucose is immediately attracted to the cancer and lights the cancer spots under the scan. I always rewarded myself immediately after having a Pet Scan by having the most sumptuous meal I could have at the Morningside hospital.
    The Oncologist then put me on a course of Interferon injections in 2012, which he believed would clear the cancer. I had to inject myself 5 times a week for the full year. This was quite tough as these injections had the side effects of making me headachy and tired. Nevertheless I still continued with my life as normal and continued to work at as MD of my Company and continued with my normal physical activity which consisted mainly of walking and doing exercises as well as again cycling the 94.7 and Argus races. Heath and I also went overseas to the UK that year, and I managed reasonably well.
    I waited with trepidation at the beginning of January 2013 for my PET Scan to see whether my cancer had gone. To my horror, I now had Stage 4 secondary cancer in the right lung. There were three lesions in the lung which meant they could not operate to cut out the lesions. If there was one lesion they would have operated. I therefore had to start chemo. I knew this was now serious, as the normal course cancer follows is from the lungs to the liver to the brain!
    Heath, Lees and Ryan were incredibly sympathetic to my plight and were very concerned about me. So were my Dad and my brothers, in particular Pete who was in the medical profession. Close friends also showed amazing concern and sometimes gave advice. Their care and concern were overwhelming! I remember my Dad’s words on hearing my news “Well my boy, you have always been a fighter, you know what to do here”. It is good to see how much your family and good friends care about you. My late Mom would have been devastated if she knew I had cancer of the lung!
    Anyway, on January 7th 2013, I started my DTIC chemo treatment. I had to go weekly for 8 months. I was still working full-time so I would have chemo every Tuesday morning. I would get to Rosebank at about 7am and walk up to the local Tasha’s and have a cuppochina coffee, sometime breakfast while reading the paper. It was good to spoil yourself a bit! The nurses started at 8am, so I ensured I was one of the earliest to receive chemo. The chemo was received intravenously. It took about one and a half hours for the chemo bag to empty. The worst was sticking the needle in your arm to receive the chemo. Eventually your veins start to collapse so the nurses would struggle to find a vein in which to insert the needle for the chemo drip.
    I was very fortunate in my chemo sessions. The nurses were fantastic. I was also fortunate to meet Kevin Robertson who was receiving the same treatment as I was and at the same time. He was in the gas industry as well so we always had plenty to talk about! We had such good laughs together with the sisters which made the treatment considerably easier. Although I felt extremely well over this period, and the only side effect I had from chemo was some tiredness. I therefore continued with the quite heavy exercise I had always done, including still cycling the 94.7 and Cape Argus cycling races.
    The Oncologist would send me for monthly x-rays to see how the three lesions in my lung were improving but there was little progress. I became a bit despondent and did worry about my future.
    I looked for inspiration during this period. My good friend Vanessa who I used to run with, and whose father died of lung cancer, suggested that I should read the story of Rob Lowe, the ex-Springbok flank, who was one of my childhood heroes. He has recovered from severe melanoma cancer. He has recovered following stem cell treatment in America. He firmly believed that diet and exercise, however light, including a 30 minute walk helped him recover. I started drinking green tea and having flax seed powder on my cereal based on his recommendations. The thing is that you need some sort of inspiration during this period. I also continued with my normal physical activity, probably excessively. However, I firmly believe when you are unwell and not too sick, to try and live like a normal person.
    I was very fortunate that significant support during this period came from my family, my wife Heath who wanted to know everything but also continued to treat me normally which is what I wanted. I definitely did not want to be treated as an invalid. I initially kept the situation away from children Lisa and Ryan, but they said they also wanted to always be informed about what was happening to me.
    An ex work colleague who now worked for hospice was also extremely helpful. Some of my work colleagues were extremely sympathetic.
    The hospice worker gave me a book entitled “What cancer cannot do” which was particularly inspirational.
    ‘It cannot cripple God’s love. It cannot shatter hope. It cannot destroy peace. It cannot kill friendship. It cannot shut out memories. It cannot silence courage. It cannot invade the soul. It cannot corrode faith. It cannot steal eternal life. It cannot conquer the spirit.’
    I was particularly moved by this book.
    I also read a book that I found interesting called ‘Unsinkable’. This book is for people who think they are sinking. In this book Sonia Ricotti gives advice so humbly and gently on how to pull yourself back from the brink and she shows you there is a way up and out. She shares her own heart – wrenching story! Also a book called ‘Clean Food for Cancer’ which covered quite a few short stories about real people who had cancer, showing the reality of cancer where some died and some survived. It also covered diet for cancer patients which I partly followed. These books were motivating.
    The amazing thing is that God entered my life properly for the first time when I had cancer. I remember reading Psalm 23 in my schoolboy days, but suddenly the verse “Yea though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of death, I feel no evil for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” came back to me. I have to admit I am not much a churchgoer, but I started reading the bible, a couple of verses a day from the beginning of the Old Testament. I have loved it and many stories in the bible that I learnt as a child, came back to me on reading the bible. The other great thing is that I am reading the bible that my late Mom gave me on my confirmation in the Michaelhouse Chapel on the 24th October 1970, a long time ago. I know this because she wrote it in the front of my bible. I also pray every day, for myself for God to forgive any sin I have committed the previous day, to thank him for the beauty of a new day, and to have a purposeful day. I also pray for my own family, my friends particular those who are struggling, my brothers and their families, my sister in laws and their families and of course my surviving father and his partner, my surviving mother – in-law, and all deceased family and friends over the years who played a huge role in my life. This I do first thing in the morning when I have my coffee. I read my bible when I first sit at my desk. These rituals give me great comfort and something I really look forward to. I also recite the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 which I find so beautiful, every morning. I have found complete inner peace through this.
    After eight months of receiving DTIC chemo, I was no better and the lesions in my lung were growing. The concern was that the cancer could now move to my liver and I was frequently tested for this.
    I was also starting to question the Oncology practice I was at as my cancer was not improving, although I knew I would miss the friendly, easy going practice very much. Heath’s friend Germaine, suggested that I should go to Dr Varobioff at Sandton, Morningside who was recognised as a leading authority in melanoma cancer and had kept her good friend alive for nine years, in spite of severe cancer.
    I made the move and the previous Oncology practice accepted it well. Dr Varobioff decided that because I was so well, he would not treat me for 8 months. However, after 8 months the three lesions were still apparent in the lung and had in fact grown. He now put me onto an Immunology type treatment received intravenously in November 2013. This consisted of four treatments only. He told me that there was only a 20% success rate for Ipilumameb treatment. My immediate question was what happened if this failed? His answer was “do not worry; you will be one of the 20%”. That confidence in my survival inspired me! Although I still felt well during these treatments, I recall them putting me to sleep immediately on receiving them. After receiving my fourth and final treatment in February 2014, I unwisely did the 109k Argus cycling race.
    I felt fine during the race and in fact did quite a good time. However, about three days after the race Heather and I still in Cape Town went for a walk around the Company Gardens. I just could not do it as I felt so weak!
    This extreme weakness was to last throughout 2014. There were days when I just could not get out of bed in the mornings to go to work! I sweated extensively, developed high blood pressure and lost a lot of weight. I felt extremely tired all the time. For the first time in my life I was too weak to do any physical activity. It was the year that I was turning 60 so had booked for the family to go to Vietnam. I was advised not to undergo the trip but my family were keen, and I had paid for the trip. It was a wonderful holiday with wonderful memories. However, I struggled to eat and could barely walk! The trip included my family, Heath, Lisa and Ryan as well as Lisa’s fiancé Gavin.
    The amazing thing was that when I had my Pet Scan in March 2014 following the completion of the Ipilumameb immunology course, the lesions in my lung were dormant! I was ecstatic!
    2014 was a great year for me. Although I was very weak, I had a party to celebrate my 60th, and my daughter Lisa got married to Gavin on 8th November 2014. Both of these were great occasions. It was also the year I recovered from lung cancer.
    I decided to retire from my position as Managing Director of my Company in February 2015 but continued to work as the Business Development Director working from home before retiring from work two years later.
    My son Ryan got married to Kerryn Alcock on 28th August 2016. This was also a very happy affair.
    Today it is September 2017. I remain free of cancer and thank God every day for this. I remain happily married to my wife Heath and we do many amazing things together. Every year we take wonderful holidays in South Africa and abroad. I also have amazing friends who I do quite a lot with. I do not work but spend quite a bit of time managing my investments, mentoring young black business entrepreneurs and I hope to in time to become a non-executive Director on one or two boards. I am also Chairman of the Board of Trustees looking after our holiday home.
    I keep fit by going to gym, walking, golf, Pilates and some cycling. I have not done the 94.7 or Argus cycling races since March 2014 as I have never totally recovered my previous fitness and strength.
    I am a very proud Father of my wonderful children, Lisa and Ryan and their spouses Gavin and Kerryn. They are well qualified, have good jobs and most of all are wonderful human-beings. I am eagerly awaiting my first grandchild but what will be, will be!

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Thanks for sharing your inspirational story Rob. Please consider joining our Facebook Support Group for cancer Survivors (patients) – it is also for those who are in remission and wish to encourage and inspire other Survivors along their journey. We have several Melanoma patients on the group. You can join here:

  • Nelisa Sipamia says:

    Breast cancer is not an illness that affects only those who speak English and live in the city

    Nelisa Sipamia was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2007. Since her ordeal she has become a voice for women who have suffered from breast cancer, bringing education and awareness into rural areas and helping people make informed choices about their health. Her journey inspired her to help change the stigma of cancer by talking about it in a language which people could understand.

    Nelisa’s journey started after she felt a strange pain in her breast. There was no lump, just pain. The doctor sent her for a mammogram and she embarked on a journey which started in a haze of denial and misunderstanding and changed the course of her life forever.

    “They said that there was something in there and I needed to see a surgeon and have an operation,” says Nelisa. “It was such a shock to me when they told me it was cancer. You ask yourself – is this right? Is it me? When I saw the surgeon I told him it was a cyst, not cancer, but the surgery was scheduled, the diagnosis made. I remember asking him to please, let me keep my breasts, and he explained that it would depend on how far the cancer had spread. I woke up, and my breast was gone.”

    For Nelisa, it was an experience which could have been made far less terrifying if she’d felt more informed and understood more about what her options were. She was in shock, not only because of her diagnosis, but because how quickly her life had changed. She didn’t feel as if she had control.

    “I was given all sorts of advice by people saying I shouldn’t have done this or done that or that I should have seen a sangoma,” says Nelisa. “I think what I did need was education. People need far more clarity about the possibilities before they go into theatre and about their diagnosis. In rural communities, people are not being informed and even charities are not getting their message to the people. That’s because advice is not being given in the right language.”

    Rural communities face inordinate difficulties when it comes to education. Children walk for miles before they get to school, often on an empty stomach, and they share textbooks and stationary. In this situation, learning English is hardly a priority, especially when it isn’t spoken at home. As a result, many people don’t understand the impact of cancer or know how to detect it because awareness is primarily in English.

    “Nobody told me about reconstruction for my breast, I wasn’t given the choice,” says Nelisa. “I am not saying it’s something I would do, but I should have been told about it so I could make an informed decision. I knew a lady diagnosed with breast cancer who visited a sangoma – they opened the breast with a blade and put medicine into it. It became septic and she died. If she had understood more about her cancer, this could have changed the course of her life.”

    For Nelisa, it isn’t about forcing people to stop seeing a sangoma, but to rather encourage them to see a doctor first. She believes that by educating people about cancer in their own language and in a way which respects their culture, it is more likely to encourage them to see a professional.

    “My radiologists asked me to talk to people about breast cancer, to help them recognise the signs and give them advice – they find it difficult to reach people in the right way,” says Nelisa. “I realised how important it was to explain cancer to people in a way they would understand. Recently my oncologist asked me to talk to a Xhosa lady who wanted to speak to someone who had been through this ordeal. I sat with her and reminded her that this is just a phase in her life. She went ahead with the treatment.”

    There remains a stigma around cancer in African society, but through education and open dialogue this can be overcome. If women understand more about it, they will be more likely to check their breasts, take their concerns to a doctor, and potentially save their own lives. If breast cancer is caught early, the survival rate is high.

    “I brought candles to our church and I asked people who had lost someone to cancer to come forward and light a candle,” says Nelisa. “People just cried as they came up. The whole church was alight. I wish I had brought my camera. Every person there had been touched by cancer and nobody talks about it. It’s scary. But if we can speak about cancer in our language we can help remove the fear and the stigma.”

  • Ingrid van der Merwe says:

    Hi friends
    Presently I am in mourning as my mother passed away last week – she was 95 but it hurts!., she was my life!. My story started…..
    People simply do not understand the route that us as cancer survivors go through. Let me tell you.

    In 2001 I went to a skin specialist as I had a tiny spot next to my eye against my nose which continued to bleed. The dermatologist I saw continually to burn it with liquid nitrogen but it kept on bleeding. I decided to see another dermatologist for a second opinion, he took one look at this and a swab later, to discover it was cancer and I had to see a Plastic Surgeon. This was horrifying I couldn’t believe it. An operation later which made me look like a monster because he had to ‘dig’ so deep, pull in tissue from my cheek and cartilage from my forehead. Following on from this I had to have 20 sessions of radiation at oncology in Somerset West., Each time I was there I would see people with wigs or no hear on their heads and sitting at chemo. My thoughts were, I hope this never happens to me. A mask had to be made for me as the radiation had to be pinpointed just to this spot. Needless to say after the first 10 sessions the tiredness caught up with me and with one eye closed, I managed to drive myself home and fall asleep. My face too from the radiation then looked like I had been sitting in the sun 24/7 it was so red, but that didn’t stop me, I stood up, faced the music, the things people said, went to gym and prayed. God is good, I was healed. I regularly went for mammograms and though they picked up some tiny spots., I was always told everything is in order. In February of 2011 I continuously felt a pain on the top of my left breast and got sharp pains and I also felt a knob., I decided to go to the doctor, he said you have fibromyalgia – I know what this feels like I said, but decided to go to my Gynaecologist of 22 years, he said you have costalcondritis and I must not worry!., NO, there is something else, I know it. I decided even though I had a mammogram in august of 2010, I will book myself in and have another check up. On the 28th of February the mammogram showed a tumour as large as life itself!., I was escorted to a surgeon immediately in a complete state., he drew some fluid and said he would call me. I drove myself to my daughter in a complete state and had to tell her ‘I have breast cancer, just waiting for confirmation’., Then I had to go and tell my mother – My family consisted only of us three!. I was called the next day and told telephonically it is cancer. I proceeded then to see the surgeon where I was then taken for further tests on the right breast, which showed pre-cancer nods. In surgery they took samples and it was confirmed. Then I was sent to a plastic surgeon whom together with my surgeon we decided on a bilateral mastectomy and implants – one operation. But before this could take place I had to have a fluid extraction test at Louis Leipoldt Hospital where it could be determined how many glands under my armpit are likely to be affected and how many are to be removed – this was a very painful exercise indeed. The major operation then took place on 1 April 2011 – 8 1/2 hour operation (April Fools day). Believe it or not, I was up and walking within one day. I have to mention that during this waiting period I unfortunately did not get the support from my working place at the time, they were busy building around the building I was working in and there was a lot of dust so I put on a mask over my mouth and said to myself ‘if I’m to have this operation my lungs must be clear and please Lord keep me healthy during this time of waiting’., which he did. I never lost faith, family from around the world were burning candles for me and praying. The day I was discharged, the Plastic Surgeon came to me to say that I would not need chemo as they have removed everything and I would need to visit oncology for treatment. What I could not believe it. I then registered with oncology and saw a very famous lady oncologist who specialises in breast cancer. I was put on a hormone block for five years. Five weeks after the mastectomy I returned to the plastic surgeon for him to remove the plasters over my nipples which he tried to re-use on my implants but they unfortunately did not have enough oxygen and I was sent straight into surgery for nipple debrivement., this was the worst, it hurt and was painful and my heart was in a deep place. Needless to say once those plasters came off I was very scared and not a nice sight to see. I returned to work on 1 June and as people say everything was still the same and one has to just fall back into the place you were, no support, no understanding. Fortunately a friend of mine told me about a support system he and a few other cancer survivors had formed and we started meeting – this was my life support, we could cry, share, understand, sympathise and love one another. Unfortunately we have lost in these past five years, at least five of these precious people, some not even of their cancer but natural or other causes. In 2012 I was retrenched from my job and eventually I found a job four months later., My belief is always ‘ my journey/our journeys are already planned ‘., at this present job I shared and could share my experiences, strengths and hopes about breast cancer., In the October of 2013 I was asked to share a small part at a colleagues church in District Six., the whole church brethren had pink cancer ribbons on their chest, even the Priest wore one. It was so amazing. In October of 2015 I was asked to give a motivational talk to over 550 people in Stellenbosch town hall., I was so blessed, though nervous, I stood there by the grace of our Lord and he gave me the words to give other’s hope. Last week I sadly said goodbye to another one of my friends in the support group where cancer had taken it’s toll, but she never gave up hope. To end off, in April of this year after all my check ups I was informed that I am cancer free. I am ‘healed’., I am blessed, I am loved, I am understood, I am supported, I am a believer and I just want to wish every single human person out there, believe, love, understand, support, give hugs, give hope!., My daughter is now 27 and her father passed away when she was 12 of cancer. I love her and we are one together. God Bless and stay strong. Ingrid

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Thank you Ingrid for sharing all the challenges you faced and for encouraging others to stay strong in the fight against cancer. Also about the importance of going for a second opinion if necessary – you had to listen to your body and knew it best and that is right. If you worry about a symptom it is NB to have it investigated.

      I am so sad that you were not supported at your first work place. CANSA is working towards making employees more aware of how they can be supportive.

      Please consider joining our online Facebook support group for cancer Survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) and loved ones. This group of people are so inspiring and uplifting – I am sure you will be an asset to our group as well xxx Join here:

  • Eugene Mulder says:

    Hi Survivors and Supporters.

    Herewith my story with my belated Wife Karin Mulder when cancer came knocking on our door.

    Trusting this will find some inspiration somewhere…

    PINK LOVE to you all…!

    Eugene Mulder

  • Carina van der Walt says:

    Hi all. My story starts in 2014, when I was 3 months pregnant with second child. One evening in the shower, I felt a lump in my breast, about the size of a 20c coin. The moment I felt the lump, a wave of shock went through my body. Can this be? Can this be the big “C”? With my next visit to my gynaecologist I informed him about the lump. He was very relaxed about the lump. “Don’t worry about it. It is milk ducts.”
    I left his consulting rooms with peace in my heart. . . but this would only last a few days. As time went on, the lump got bigger and bigger. A second time the gynaecologist told me I shouldn’t worry.

    I was 34 years old. I breast fed my first born. I lived a healthy lifestyle. I exercised on a regular basis. What were the chance?
    In March 2015, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. I struggled a lot with breast feeding. At this stage, the lump was almost as big as a golf ball.

    During my six week check up, I asked my general practitioner to send me for a mammogram scheduled for the same day as my check up. At the hospital, they only did a sonar, due to the fact that I was a low risk patient – I was too young. After the sonar, I went to the gynaecologist. Again he reassured me that it was nothing to worry about. Now he said it was tissue thickening, due to the pregnancy. “Come back in six months time, then we will see what is wrong.”

    This time when I left the consultation room, I left with something else . . I left with the voice of the Holy Spirit telling me: “Carina, today you stop breastfeeding.”

    I came home and discussed it with my husband. He supported my decision. Six weeks later, I was back at the gynaecologist. I insisted on another sonar.

    I went for a sonar, but this time, the radiographer seemed much more worried than the first time I went for a sonar. He suggested that I did a biopsy immediately. The biopsy was done and thereafter a mammogram.

    I knew . . . this was not good news.

    A week later, 3 July 2015, I was diagnosed with stage 3, grade 3 breast cancer. My whole body went numb. It felt as if I was in a dream. How could this happen to me? I have a small baby and a two year old daughter.

    My life changed instantly. Things that mattered to me, didn’t bother me at all. My biggest wish was to be a mommy for my children. To see them grow up. To look after them and to love them. To be a good wife for my husband and to grow old with him.

    The Saturday, 4 July 2015, I fell to my knees in front of God. I asked Him to only show me if I am going to make it. Will I be able to raise my children? Please God, show me. Show my anything. I cried, I pleaded. While praying, God whispered: “Read Matthew 7, my child.” Immediately I grabbed the Bible, opened it by Matthew 7 and wow. . . .God answered me. He actually gave me more than a answer that day. He gave me hope. I only had to hold on and believe. At that moment I knew. . . I am going to make it.

    A lot of other amazing things happened and each time God confirmed to me that I should only stay steadfast and hold on to Him.
    I told God that I would walk this path, but He needs to help me to be sensitive for His voice and to obey Him in every task he lay in my path.
    Well, today, a year later, I stand in utmost thankfulness. I will praise Him in the morning, I will praise Him in the evening. I will praise Him for as long as I live.

    I went through chemo, radiation, mastectomy. . .. . after my oncologist told me she didn’t even think that the tumour (size 7cm x 9cm) would shrink with the chemo. . . . I am clean. I am not in remission. . .. . I am healed. The word remission sounds to me if I am waiting for it to come back and that is why I refuse to say I am in remission. God healed me! This whole journey taught me that it is the small things in life that count. Not how much money you have, what car you drive or what you wear. Appreciate the small things. As a survivor I would like to tell everyone who struggles with the same thing or any other illness. . . God is bigger than any of this. The cross doesn’t mean nothing. Jesus died for all our illness and hurt. He wants us to have life and life in abundance. I pray that we will never lose hope or faith. That we will always stay connected to our heavenly Father. Even when things don’t go the way we want it to go. God has a plan and a purpose with each one of us.

  • Kesavan says:

    hi. i am a cancer survivor. i was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2010. one testicle was removed. never had chemo after the operation. in 2013 a ct scan picked up a problem. a pet scan revealed it was a tumour near my tummy. had an operation which removed the cancer, almost removed my kidney, was seminoma testicular cancer.. 2 years ago i had chemotherapy , u feel weak, aftger chemo. i had 4 cycles, im in remission since then. i like to be involved in helping cancer associations i like my story to be heard. im in durban

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Kesavan thanks for sharing your story. Please make contact with our CANSA Durban Care Centre should you like to get involved – tel: 031-205 9525. Please also join our Champions of Hope Facebook Support Group for cancer Survivors. The group members are very supportive of each other:

  • zaheer parker says:

    Hi there, i was diagnosed with hodgskins lymphoma during march 2014. Went through chemo and radiation. Went into remission during september 2014. Cancer came back three months later in december. This time inon the bone … Started chemo again followed by a bone marrow transplant and more radiation… Thankfully i got the all clear just last week… Please feel free to visit my friends website as i wrote an article about my experience.

    Part 1 of my story:

    Part 2 of my story:

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Thank you for sharing your cancer journey with us Zaheer. Please consider joining our Champions of Hope Facebook Group for cancer Survivors – the group is for all who have or have had cancer and the members are wonderfully supportive of one another. It would be great to share your story on this platform too.

  • Lynette Tengwa says:

    Hello everyone,

    In 1997 I realized that I had a lump in my breast, then I told my grandmother who was not aware of any kind of cancer at that time, so she just didn’t take it seriously, I was 14 years old. In 2003, I met this amazing guy who became my boyfriend, he noticed that I always touch my breast and have a weird facial expression afterwards. He asked me about it , and I told him about the lump. He immediately he freaked out, he asked me to go to the doctor, and I guess I was scared because every time he asked me to go the doctor, I would change the subject and try to forget about the issue.

    In 2008 he asked me to prepare for us to go somewhere, he didn’t say where, then on the our way I asked where we were going…. he just ignored me and spoke about something else. He was taking me to the doctor. We got there and the doctor examined me and referred me to the hospital.

    Following day we went to the hospital, I was tested and we were to wait for the results. The results came back and I was told I’m clean there’s no cancer. I was happy that I was ok.

    Two weeks after my results came back, the doctor from the hospital called me to come. I got there and there were 5 doctors in some sort of a boardroom or something. They told me that the doctor who told me that I did not have cancer had made a mistake, I actually have cancer.

    At that moment right there, I felt nothing and it was like someone has just told me about something normal like the weather, because I wasn’t shocked or anything like that, I just stood there and said “OK” they looked at each other and asked if I was fine…… and I was fine, at least I thought….. then 3 years after, while I was in the hospital everyday for radiation, it hit me………… I really have this thing. I was so drained, horrible feeling I have ever had in my life, I had no one but my boyfriend to talk to…. he was my rock, even though he had his struggles in dealing with me and my moods…. he was there. My younger sister also played a huge role in my struggles at that time though I was always hiding how I feel because she was studying.

    The process of me being affected about the cancer emotionally, I couldn’t cope with my studies, I then stopped in my last year.

    Cancer is the disease that’s describable, you can never have the right words to tell the next person who has never had it how it feel to actually have it. But it is horrific, unbearable, frustrating painful feeling anyone could get. I am now healthy and happy with my wonderful man 🙂

    He has always been there……! It was God, me and him…!

    The only thing that healed me is belief…… I believed in God and I had so much faith in him….. he didn’t disappoint me at all. I just love the Big guy.

    To everyone who has cancer now….. trust me my dear…… Jesus love you very very much…. by his stripes you are healed……. Have faith in God and pray…!

    God bless you all.

  • Noluvuyo Fulani-Mpumela says:

    I do not know cancer but I understand it

    I do not know what it feels like to be in pain day in and day out my husband does
    I do not know the pain of not knowing what is wrong with you my husband does
    I do not know what it feels like to lose employment due to illness my husband does
    I do not know the anticipation and the pain of reading Dr’s reports you don’t understand, my husband does
    I am not the one who had to be in hospital 769km away from home my husband is
    I do not relate to the anxiety of not knowing how long you are going to lie in a hospital bed because Dr’s are yet to investigate your condition, my husband does
    I am not the one whose hip needed to be replaced, my husband is
    I do not know what it feels like not being able to walk for 6 weeks my husband does
    I am not the one who was informed a day before a major procedure that there was change of plan my husband is
    I am not the who was diagnosed with cancer my husband is……..

    But never the less I am not clueless….

    I was there when the pain started I helped with pain killers
    I was there when the Drs were fumbling not knowing what was wrong I suggested we change the Gp
    I was there when he could no longer go to work my payslip took lead
    I was there when that first x-ray report came out it read ‘malignant’ and I knew what it meant
    I was there when he had to see the best Orthopaedic surgeon in Cape Town I took leave from work
    I was there when the pathology reports were not clear, I did some research
    I was there when the Dr suggested a hip replacement I helped with the decision
    I was there when they taught him how to walk again I did not give him pressure I cheered at every step
    I was able to read the medical reports with ‘possible diagnosis’ osteosarcoma therefore I was ready for the news
    This may be a deadly disease but we are full of life
    Cancer is not the end of the world but rather the beginning of life
    The catalyst of strength and the concrete to a God solid marriage…….

  • Melanie Hamilton says:

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30. The horrible day was 13 October 2011. I was scared to death. My daughter was only 18 months old.

    I met an amazing team of caregivers that day. Dr Anca Pirjol and her ladies in Amanzimtoti. They took me in as pert of the family from that day and has still not forgotten about me.

    The worst news I got that day was that I may have difficulty falling pregnant after treatment and that they recommended I have eggs frozen in case but there was no time as I was diagnosed with a very aggressive triple negative cancer and needed to start treatment the following week.

    I was resolved to stay positive throughout because on that first day I made the decision to stay alive for my daughter. She needed to learn so many things in life and I was going to be the one to teach her. It was hard but we managed. My amazing husband carried me all the way. He MADE me go to chemo on days that I just could not face it. The radiation really took a toll on me but in the end it was all worth it. I was clear in February 2012 but needed to complete treatment to ensure nothing was missed. So for a full year my body was dragged through hell.

    On my last day of chemo we had a celebration in the doc’s rooms. I bought alcoholic free bubbly and cake. Everyone was happy with me. The fear of having the cancer come back was still there in the back of my mind and it still is but at least I was one step closer to seeing my beautiful daughter all grown up.

    I made myself believe that I did not want anymore children. I think it was easier on my mind. It was so hard to get pregnant the first time and we needed to go through 18 months of fertility treatment before we eventually fell pregnant naturally. Amazingly doctor Pirjol recommended I have an injection every 4 weeks to try and save my ovaries from the chemo. It was experimental and they could not promise it would work but it was worth the try. In October 2013 I was given the go-ahead to try and fall pregnant again. I was scared and did not really believe it would happen. So I though “What the hell, let’s try”.

    In March this year my little girl told one of my friends that I had a baby in my tummy. I scolded her for telling someone something without it being true but it made me think. I was quite late and had been feeling sick for about 2 weeks. It was very strange. I did a home pregnancy test and it was negative. It did not bother me too much because in my head I believed I would never have another child. About 4 days later I was still feeling very sick and decided to do another test. It came back positive. I was so shocked that I thought the test was broken. We went to have bloods done the very next Saturday. They confirmed it. We had fallen pregnant without any medical intervention. I was over the moon but scared at the same time.

    It seems the chemo had renewed my body and taken away all the bad elements that had previously prohibited me from falling pregnant.

    I am now 7 months pregnant with my son. He will be delivered in the first week of December 2014. Even though I fought a major battle for my life, I SURVIVED and that can never be taken away from me. No matter what battles I have to fight in the future, I know I CAN DO IT.

  • Sicelo Mohale says:

    I have this great urge that keeps me lingered to the CANCER word. I met a guy from my Hometown in Ladysmith last year and he is about the same age as I. I mistakenly went into to his home and was looking for another friend of mine only to find that it was the next door’s house…clearly it reveals itself that I do not frequently go home. He shouted from the bedroom and said ‘come in from the back door’…I went through and he was chilling with a friend in his bedroom dong something on the PC. I had thought it was my friend only to find that it was a stranger. He was very much welcoming and relaxed and took me outside and showed me the house I was looking for. When I was about to take off I noticed that he was limping not realizing that he wore an artificial leg. I stopped a while and was hit by that, we then generally chatted about how time flies and that it was year end what have we achieved so far. With the little time spent with the gentleman, I gathered that he was a good man. I then asked if he studies and he told he has a small business but wishes to further his studies perhaps do Business Management. I told him I was studying at UKZN and would get him some forms to apply for the following year. We then exchanged cellphone numbers and It was like we had known each since ages ago. Two days later I invited him to my house for lunch and he walked from his place which is like 2.5km away . I introduced him to my mother and we were friends from there…During that same week when I had visited him at his house he told me a very sad story about the loss of his amputated leg and how it happened. It was a very painful to hear such and I also told him about how I almost developed cancer but I attended to the issue very early. I learnt a lot that CANCER may take your leg or your life but can never take away the goodness in some people…This is one the most motivated young man in Ladysmith and truly stands out in a small town with little effort that he shows through his printing and photocopying business. he shared with me the vision to transform the youth in our town and shape them to refrain from being attracted by drugs and so on. I learnt that he is a soldier that went to war with cancer and came victorious because he is still smiling today and can help others fight this disease and be positive about life.

    Richard Carlson. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ [Take your life to the next level, without the fear of what your current situation is and what challenges you face…it all begins with a fresh thought]

  • zanele mbokazi says:

    I thought being an inspirational speaker would make me strong in all situations. That being an author of books that have encouraged people over the years would make me stand when faced with moments like this. But it is hard.

    For the past 2 weeks my sister and I have been sitting at my mom’s bedside. All we do is pray and sing for her. Sometimes she makes a sound to show that she can hear us, sometimes she tries to open her eyes….sometimes we can tell she is just in another world. Brain cancer is what she was diagnosed with – and had an operation in May 2011.

    Our encouragement comes from knowing that like Job, mom knows that her redeemer lives!

  • Nick Hagemeier says:

    I Love Birthdays!

    I love birthdays…anybody’s birthday. I especially love MY birthday (20.03)because around that time I always feel good. I feel energized and full of life. I consider birthdays to be so special because I think they are a person’s annual celebration of life. I am never too busy to take a minute to offer a smile, and a sincere and hearty “Happy Birthday”, even to a stranger if I find out it is their birthday.

    So it was a little like I imagine an “out of body experience” would be when I learned, in 2008 just before my 59 th birthday, that I had a very aggressive bladder tumour that was malignant i.e. cancer. My urologist Dr.Sandy Bruns told me the survival rate was good and that made me feel better. But then he explained that there was a 50% chance that the disease could take my life if it had spread to other parts of my anatomy. As the urologist was telling me the news, from out of nowhere, I just got this deep seated feeling that someone would come into my life and assist me in the big fight that lay ahead. That someone, as I found out later was my Oncologist Dr. Antoinette Lion – Cachet, an angel, who has guided me to where I am today – a cancer survivor.

    Maybe that thought hit me because I had hardly ever been sick except for an occasional bout of the flu, or maybe a bad cold, and a couple of stitches here and there. In fact, I had often boasted about my good health and vigor. I had not been having any annoying symptoms of any illness. Not only was that, but the news that I had cancer, not even related to the reason I had gone to the urologist in the first place, just an infection!!! It was very hard for me to try and think seriously, and to stay focused on this man explaining to me about the different ways this disease could be cured, especially with my birthday around the corner that I was so accustomed to celebrate a potentially wonderful time in my life’s journey.

    I have cancer, and I could die … I could …. not even be here next year. Is this the way my life will end. If I live will I become a hassle to others? Those thoughts involuntarily flashed on and off across my mind like the words on a neon sign. The news that I had cancer was so shocking because it was so matter of fact. And it was so CERTAIN. There was no more, “…well it may be this…, or it may be that…let’s run some more tests, etc….” I guess that was a good thing because it gave me very little time for self-pity, anger, or fear. I felt all three of them very strongly, but I didn’t have much time to stay at either one of them for long.

    I wanted to go to the park and sit in the shade…I wanted to visit family…I wanted to have a happy birthday party with all of my friends like I’ve always had…I wanted to eat some cake and have a drink…I didn’t want to be here in this urologist office or hospital ward… I wanted to cry out no, no, NO! But then, I had to ask myself, who was I saying ‘no’, to? Was I saying no to the urologist, who was only calling it like he was trained to see it? Or was I saying no, to GOD?

    In my fear and anger, was I going to DARE to say no–to GOD? The feeling of no, no, not me, was thickly welling up inside me, but I couldn’t release it because I knew that the urologist was not lying to me. He was merely doing his job–which was to tell me the results of his investigation of my symptoms. This realization led me to the deepest level of thinking that I have ever done.
    Up until that time, on my birthday in 2008, I’m sure that I’ve routinely recited and/or prayed what is known as The Lord’s Prayer, well over a million times, but it did not become truly real in my life until then. I had prayed, “…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” so many times. I knew that now was my time to stand up and be counted, so to speak. If it was God’s will for me to have this cancer, then He will offer me a way to deal with it.

    I realized that it was up to me to believe that He would. I armed myself with the further knowledge that He will not put more on us than we can bear. Without warning, the very beginning of my whole 59 Th year of life, acted as a test of the faith I’d always said I had for much of my adult life. If I worry, then I must not believe in my own prayers. Therefore, if I pray, then I should have nothing to worry about, because God will show me a way to deal with all my problems.

    Doctors these days don’t have time to sit around and “chit-chat” like they once did, so I had to do all of this heavy thinking real fast. I discovered that it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself in a hurry. You need time to really get the full benefits of self-pity. I didn’t have time to even have a “pity-party” on my birthday. I had to really and actually grow up, and decide which way I was going to handle the situation.
    I decided to accept the fact that God knew that I had this cancer, and that the urologist knew how to fight it. I asked God to guide the urologist, and to give me the strength I’d need to help fight this thing. The “stumbling blocks” of learning about my cancer, became the “stepping stones” to finding strength in my faith on my birthday.

    The operations were performed, the tumors’ were removed, chemotherapy followed with all it’s nasty consequences, biopsies were taken, cat scans and sonar’s performed, internal exams and blood tests were done. The results have all been negative and no cancer has been detected again. Now the final hurdle of 20 treatments of radiation was to be completed. Finished that journey in Bloemfontein with painful bodily results …. I carried on the big fight. I shared my experiences with many fellow cancer patients … at Olea Interim House … our residence. Some have past on and are at peace.

    It is now May 2 . 2014 … 6 years + … and I’m very happy to still be alive. Will be having my routine 6 monthly exams in June, confident that I will still be all clear but always nervous …and to still able to say…I love God and I still love birthdays!

  • Rina Visser says:

    Eks in November 2010 gediagnoseer met Batroides Sarcoom. Dis ‘n baie rare maar baie agresiewe kanker wat die sagte weefsels in jou liggaam aanval. Ek is 4 keer terug met selfde probleem na my genikeloog voor hulle eers vasgestel het wat fout was. Na 1 operasie en 48 behandelings van gemo is ek genees. Ek was skoon vir 3jaar en 4 maande net om weer te hoor daars weer iets!!!!!!! My witbloedselle se telling was baie hoog en die ct scans het nie veel gewys behalwe dat my pancreas bietjie vergroot is nie. Dieselfde dag is ek vir beenmurg toetse wat toe bevestig het dat ek CML (bloedkanker) het. Eks nou op Vitivio 100mg x 4 per dag en is nou besig met my maand 2! Ek moet se ek voel meeste van die tyd moeg, partymaal hartseer ander dae vol lewe maar ek klou daaraan vas dat God ‘n plan het met my, meskien om ander se oe oop te maak of dalk oor iets anders ons het nie altyd die antwoorde nie. God is baie goed vir my en wat Hy ookal vir my beplan sal ek aanvaar. Ek vra dat wie ookal die boodskap lees dat julle saam ons sal bid vir gesondheid……….oorwining……..en ‘n nuwe lewe. Ek bid vir elke liewe mens daar buite wat kanker het vir genesing. Baie dankie

  • Candis says:

    Its Me Candis again…

    On sunday morning 13th April I watched my dad brush his teeth, I went out for a few hours just as I got back I saw him battle to walk into the lounge wanting to watch tv, very restless in a lot of pain, yet still strong by that afternoon I tried feeding him energade it just oozed out his nose and mouth because the fluid build up had become so bad the liquids could not go down, for the first time he needed oxygen that Sunday.

    My house was crowded with family and friends.

    His sisters decided to stay over that night to help “watch” him, we took turns at his beck and call.

    I prayed for him that night the same way I did every night.

    Waking up monday morning @ 4am to the sound of my aunt banging at my bedroom door to wake my husband to carry my dad to the toilet because by then his strength had failed him completely.

    He could not speak, he communicated to us by nodding either yes or no.

    My daily prayer would usually end in a battle with God I would say selfishly, “heavenly father I’d rather have a sick father than no father”, yet this beautiful sunny morning was different for me I said “lord I can’t bear to see my dad suffer any longer let your will be done”.

    As I brushed my hair I heard my aunt start to read the bible aloud. She paused for a moment, then called me when I went to ask him what he wanted he kissed me twice once on the lip on once on my right cheek.

    He had opened the book of psalms :38 n asked her to read how extraordinary it explained word for word his exact story.

    A few minutes later my dad passed away at exactly 10am on Mon 14th April, he lost his battle, but in my eyes he’s still a winner.

    How many kids can boast they got a kiss goodbye from their parents, well I can because I was blessed with an amazing dad on earth, his faith and courage has astounded me even in his last moments he chose to overcome and didn’t allow his disease to get the better of him, although skin and bone his personality shone through right until the end.

    He will always be loved and missed and he will always be a hero in my eyes.

    The most important thing is your mindset in beating this disease, a positive attitude, claim your healing and your body back, my dad thought me this guys believe me I know it isn’t easy but like the bible says all you need is faith as little as a mustard seed.

    If you have this disease I urge you to fight it and beat it! Because you can!
    If a loved one has this disease stand strong by their side they need you more than you know…

    In memory of my loving father and friend Richard, who is now in the arms of the angels…

    Thank you dad for being the amazing man you were.

    I love you always and will forever treasure the memories you left behind, and honour your legacy which lives on…

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Candis

      I am sad to hear that your dad has passed on, but I am glad that he is no longer in pain. Thank you for your beautiful testimony re him – you have indicated that you would like to support and encourage others who are affected by cancer. Please sign up as a CANSA Volunteer in your community – we need volunteers like yourself. Go to this web page to sign up:

      If you or your family need any support or counselling, because you have been carrying a huge load for some time now, please contact your nearest CANSA Care Centre to arrange – see contact details here:

  • Kojang Malahleha says:

    Hi there,

    I am black young woman who used to be very active. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 2nd of January this year at the age of 28. Prior to my diagnosis, I used to believe that cancer was ”a white man’s desease” or was for old people, I had my son at the age of 24, breastfed him for 2 years and had no history of cancer in my family so I never considered myself a ”high risk candidate” . At first I was very angry and asked God ”why me?” but when I thought about my son and wanting to be around for everything he does, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started enjoying life. I had a mastectomy done and am currently undergoing chemotherapy. I am blessed to have an amazing family, friends and colleagues that not only supports me but come to every appointment. If you have a family member or friend who has this desease, support them. No one can fight cancer on their own, just be there , lend an ear, shoulder and anything else they might need but most importantly enjoy life.

  • Candis says:

    My name is Candis,
    My dad is 57years old his name is Richard and has been ill since last year august, after running around with him for months to different hospitals and hundreds of tests later, finally a biospy was done this year Feb confirming that he has lung cancer, watching his condition deteriorate isn’t easy for me whilst I waited patiently for the hospitals to refer him to oncology, so finally he could get the relevent treatment, two weeks ago they sent my dad home saying that nothing can be done because once cancer spreads it can’t be cured. The doctors believe that it is best to improve his quality of life by making him as comfortable as possible.

    So this is how my emtional roller coaster began, I’m not ready to lose my dad not like this..

    He is in bad shape, however he is still alive and strong, he amazes me with the courage he has, he looks up at me with a fire in his eyes and says to me “baby(his nickname for me because I am his lastborn) I’m not going to die” smiling.

    For each new day that he has still has the breath of life in him he fights, he’s weak because he consumes only liquids(ensure, future life), yet he has a bath himself, feeds himself through the pain he has the ability to joke around and laugh, always kind and smiling.

    My dad is skin and bone…not the healthy man he was a few months ago..
    He takes his morphine only once a day at night, how does he have such a high threshold for the pain I wonder, because I see the excruiating pain he is in, he whispers and speaks due to loss of voice, his bones are always sore, he describes it as being beaten all over his body with a cricket bat.

    He choses to embrace life for as long as he can, he helped me realize that I was so focused on his “illness and death” that I had forgotten that he is still alive and now I chose to make the best memories with each new day. So I enjoy his company, I read to him, pray for him, listen to him and sometimes I just sit with him saying nothing at all, through the pain and the tears the love and the joy I thank god for the 27 years of my life that he has given me with my dad, and I plan on being by his side till the end as difficult as this is, my dad is stil my hero he has proven to me that he can overcome.

    His strength and courage amazes me everyday. He accepts that this is the will of god yet he isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, and somehow the peace that he has made with it gives me peace, his dad passed on 16 years ago due to colon cancer so he says he had the experience and he understands how this illness is.

    He continues to be a blessing and an inspiration to me facing each new day as it comes peacefuly and and courageously as he can…


    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Candis

      Your father sounds like a remarkable man and he is fortunate to have such a loving, caring daughter as you.

      It is important that you receive support, as well as your father. Watching and supporting someone you love struggling with cancer is very tough and challenging. Please contact your nearest CANSA Care Centre for support and counselling – the staff can make sure your father is as comfortable as possible & help you too.

      See contact details for our Care Centres here: and see more re services that Care Centres provide here:

      Wishing you and your father much strength at this time.

  • Andries says:

    I was diagnosed with Lymphoma (stage 4) just about a year ago. I cannot explain the devastation that I went through at the first stages of my diagnosis, let alone the devastation suffered by my wife and siblings. My children were always around me during my times in and out of hospital and everybody was just expecting the worst.

    It was through positive attitude, prayer, support from my family and undergoing chemotherapy without fail that In February this year my oncologist told me that I survived lymphoma.

    For the period I went through chemo I managed to come into contact with patients who suffered from different kinds of cancer and I witnessed with my own eyes most of those people surviving.

    To those who are going through the same pain, believe me YOU WILL BEAT CANCER.

  • Johan says:

    I was diagnosed with lung cancer 2 days before my birthday in 2010 and i was devastated to say the least. Ever since, so many things have gone wrong with me that, it is to numerous to mention here. I’ve been in and out of hospital so many times with either anaemia, an oesophagus that was damaged with radiation, tumours all over the insides of my body and , if you can think it, it has happened to me already. The one thing that I do and say is, that Cancer is not going to get me down and, i stay positive irrespective what happens to me. I believe that to be positive, I’ve won the battle by three quarters already.If every one can think like me and, possibly try and feel like me, we can stand together and beat the scourge of cancer. Even a collapsed lung at he beginning of the year, could not get me down and out. I must admit that I almost dies but, with the grace of God, he feels that there is still something special for me to complete here on earth, before I will join his kingdom and have no pain at all.

  • Andre Prinsloo says:


    It is going to take time (over a long period) to tell my story. I am now 52 years old. It all started when I was Std 7 ( now grade 9 ) ; I was 13 , healthy, fit, just 2nd year of high school and chosen by the school to be part of the under 14A rugby team. The under 14A rugby team and the school’s 1st rugby team went on to travel the Eastern Free State for a rugby game tour against schools in that area.

    We came back after the rugby tour and the second term of school started. From the 1st training session in the second term of school, I felt tired. I would get back from school and would immediately fall asleep on my bed amongst books and school work. This carried on until the local GP decided, on one visit to his rooms, that my appendix must be removed immediately and I was rushed to hospital.

    Appendix gone, however , the wound doesn’t heal and 6 weeks later, after my mother’s demands the GP do a full blood count test, results changed my life. This change, de-railed my life and the life of my family without anyone of us understanding the change and new road we are going in.

    I was diagnosed with leukemia ( ALL) .

    I cannot say anymore now. When something like that happens twice in one person’s life it takes years to come to peace with it. This is the 1st time ever I talk ( even in writing ) about this.

    I will be back to say more……..I am now 52.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Andre

      Thank you for sharing your story with us – please join our Facebook Group for cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) and share with the group – the members all have had cancer in the past or have it now and they are very supportive of each other:

  • Hearing my doctor utter the words, “the news isn’t great, you need to come see me” after finding a lump in my breast just a few days before literally took my breath away. The mammogram and ultrasound confirmed the news, I had breast cancer. As I am sure many women feel in that moment of truth, their lives flashing before them and halting suddenly at that point in time, not knowing what the future holds and feeling nothing but angst.

    Fortunately the terror for me was somewhat removed, having experienced cancer first hand with my husband some years before while we were still dating. We knew what to expect regarding treatment and so took things one step at a time. At 36 years old I still hadn’t had any children and was about to start fertility treatment when I found out about the cancer. A few weeks later I was admitted for bilateral mastectomy surgery.

    It was an emotional and physical rollercoaster ride, which distracted me from most of the normal things in my life. However instead of allowing the profound feeling of thinking my body was failing me, I chose to focus on the opposite experience of realising how strong and resilient my body had become through being fit and living healthily before my diagnosis.

    I was a regular member of an outdoor fitness programme for women called Adventure Boot Camp which trained at the Orchards Primary School in Houghton. I had been going for almost three years and lost more than 50cm and transformed my body and improved my fitness levels dramatically. I believe that having this strong fitness foundation is what helped me through my surgery and chemotherapy. This was so clear to me when the surgeon, while doing his rounds in the high care ward, would stop at my bed to check my chart and vitals. One day he said something along the lines of, “how are you feeling Natalie? Your vitals look strong. Actually, you have the pulse rate of an athlete.”

    When I started Adventure Boot Camp I had noble intentions of getting fit, but if I am honest, it was really was about feeling better in my jeans and losing a bit of weight. Through going to camp my body shape is now completely different, and my jeans do feel a lot better. Through my experiences, I know that my body is stronger than I imagined. Physically, I have been able to bounce back from my surgeries quickly and well. I can even do a full push up again.

    But besides the physical aspect of going to camp and exercising, it’s really helped me cope emotionally. I feel I am capable of so much more than I ever realised. It has shown me how resilient I am, how confident I can be in the face of difficulty, how to try hard and how to enjoy the process of improving. On top of all that, it has given me a great network of awesome ladies who have provided me with immeasurable support. It’s such a privilege to be out on the field with my trainer, Michelle, and those special ladies!

    Now, as I start the oncology part of my treatment, I am still going to camp as often as I can. The chemo really wipes out the body’s reserves and the fatigue is like being burned out from work. I struggle to focus and concentrate. My body just can’t do as much as it used to be able to, or with the same intensity. My doctor has prescribed 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day to counteract the fatigue. Although I am not able to do as much as often, or with the same intensity, I can still work out. It gives me more energy than I thought possible and a dose of inspiration, perspective and fun, through the interaction with the ladies in the class.

    So it’s with humbleness that I write this story. I am at this point, the sum of parts adding up to more than I imagined – great love and support, physical well being and tools to take on a big challenge, being three significant parts.

    If I can give any words of support to women who are dealing with breast cancer, another illness or even to those who don’t yet know they too will have to face a similar ordeal someday, is to realise you are capable of so much more than you ever thought possible. And while you are out there, building a stronger, leaner, fitter body, you are also building a heart and mind that can take on any challenge. And never give up, ever.

  • Jesse van Wyk says:

    Hey Guys
    My name is Jesse van Wyk , I’m 26 years old and I currently live in Strand in the Western Cape. I’m a full time model and travel abroad quite often for work and I’m finishing my Bsc Botany and Zoology (UNISA) at the end of the year. In the beginning of 2013 my life was looking great. I was in New York City about to sign up with one of the top 5 model agencies in the city , had a beautiful and loving Girlfriend and was I happy. Before I left for NY I realized that my one testicle was substantially bigger than the other. I forced myself to not think too much of it , because I was shy and told myself lies like : “it’s nothing” or “You are way too young to have problems like this”. So I continued with my plans of making it big in NY. A couple of weeks into the trip I started getting aches and pains in the swollen testicle and that’s when I really started to get concerned. I spoke to my dad about it and he was adamant that I should go let it get checked out and I flew back to SA leaving all my hopes and dreams behind. I didn’t even have the guts to tell my Girlfriend what was going on and told her I had to go back to because of some issues I had with my studies. The day after I arrived I went to a specialist and got diagnosed with testicular cancer. I was mortified , shocked , and all the other emotions that I’m sure all the people have when they get the soul crushing news – you have that is the BIG C. And to make matters worse , my family immigrated to Singapore and my girlfriend was still NY , so had no one with me there. It felt like I was all alone in this world. I couldn’t believe it. I was 26 years old , didn’t smoke , hardly drank and went to the gym 3 to 4 a week. My mother was quite a big health fanatic which caught on with me , so every morning I would drink 5 massive vitamin pills. I was the healthiest person out of anyone that I knew!!!! How could this happen to me?

    Well long story short – My family and Girlfriend flew in and I got an operation to remove the testicle that had the cancerous growth. The wait for the test result was the longest 5 days of my life and I didn’t have the stomach to read it when the letter finally came. My sister had to do it and I was one of the lucky ones!!!!! I had the lowest grade Cancer you could get and there were no traces of cancerous cells outside of the testicle. That meant that I did not have to get Chemo or Radiation. Only observation was needed. And I’m over exited to say that my first follow up has come and gone and I’m a 100% healthy and no signs of the Cancer coming back. Thank God that he looked after me. But in saying that this ordeal still left me with a traumatic experienced that was all cramped into two short stressful weeks. Then afterwards your just suppose to go on living like nothing has happened. I didn’t deal with this very well. And a few short months later my girlfriend broke up with me because her dad just survived Colon Cancer , which was way worse than mine , and she could not deal with the same situation again. This left me in a very dark and depressed place in my life.

    The change came when I decided to come visit my parents in Singapore for some grounding and love and to do some modelling work in Asia. My sister , who was immense in the amount of help and support that she gave me throughout this ordeal , suggested that I meet up with one of her work colleges for a chat when I arrived. It was an Australian man who had had breast cancer and I reluctantly agreed. The talk that I had with him was my turning point!!!! It was the first time that I didn’t feel alone in this world!!!! The connection that I could make with what happened to him and the fact that he his cancer also involved a area that had massive ego knock for a man. This was MASSIVE for me. It was the first time I could talk to someone who understood what I went through and could share some perspective on his journey. This one conversation made me release so much bad energy and made me feel that everything’s going to be ok. Life goes on if you let it.

    I want to be able to be that person for someone else struggling through the ups and downs. Be there for them when no one else are willing. I want to help spread awareness amongst young men that this could happen to you and share my story to make other people not feel alone like I did for a long time. I’m able and willing to get involved in any way , shape or form. I’ll be back in SA at the end of October and would love to come in and meet the people behind CancerSA and get involved.

    Can you please put me in contact with the right people , so that I can start making a difference!!!!!!!

    Kind Regards
    Jesse Van Wyk

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Jesse

      Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey with us. I have forwarded your comment and contact details to our Head of Marketing & Communication, Lucy Balona. It is wonderful that you would like to encourage others who face similar challenges to yourself and that you’d like to make a difference.

      Please help inspire other cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) by joining our Facebook Group for survivors: – the members of the group have all had cancer in the past or have it now and are very supportive of each other.

      Read more about CANSA’s holistic care and support service to cancer survivors here:

  • Nicolette Coertzen says:

    Hi everyone. I am 14 years old. And I am happy to share this part of my life with you and CANSA. So I am hoping if you read my story you would be inspired. Well my story begins with my grandma. She was a wonderful, caring and loving person. I always helped her with something. She was my hero. One day my aunt took my grandma to the hospital because she looked sick to my aunt. And so they told my aunt when the tests they have done are finished, my grandma had cancer. And so my aunt were very worry and wondered if there was something which she can do to stop this cancer. Asn so my aunt told my mother that my grandma had cancer. When she found out she was depressed and very sad. When my mom decided to go to JHB she told me, my sister and my dad to come along. When we arrived there in JHB, the first place we went to was the hospital to see if my grandma are ok. A few days later the hospital told us the cancer was very bad. It went to her legs so she couldn’t walk and it was very sore for her. When we arrived at my aunt’s house, me and my nephew made a card for my grandma. And so when the big day arrived the doctor told us that my grandma are no longer with us. I was so sad, I just didn’t know what to do. When her funeral arrived, we have put the card in the coffin and the teddy my grandpa gave her before he went to work. It was the saddest day of my life. And 3 years before that my grandpa died of a heartattack. And this June vacation my aunt’s dog died of cancer. My other grandma had breast cancer but luckily for me, she is still alive. Grandpa→23/03/2008-died, Grandma→02/06/2011-died, Dog→13/07/2013.

  • Bruce Harvey says:

    Have been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. Had my op and should be o.k. now. My family and employer were fantastic with their support. I would like to raise funds for prostrate cancer research ,or any cancer research for that matter. I have started swimming and I want to do the Midmar Mile to help raise funds for cancer . Who can I contact or can I just do my own thing. Took part in the shavathon recently but would like to something meaning full.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Bruce

      Thank you so much for helping us to fight cancer through your support at Shavathon and being willing to help raise more funds through CANSA Active. I have emailed you contact details re getting involved in fundraising.

      You mentioned that you have had your op and that you are ok. Please do not hesitate to let us know whether or not you need further support or advice.

      It would be wonderful if you would consider joining our Facebook Group for cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) – the members all have had cancer in the past or have it now and are very supportive – I am sure you will inspire them too:

  • Nosicelo says:

    I have been diagnosed with Colon Cancer late in March 2013, went for the surgery on the 11 April 2013 I have recovered well and I am about to start with Chemo. Every body around me are fussing about the diet I would like to know if I can get an assistances in terms of changing my lifestyle.(what foods should I be taking and the ones that I should stay away from) I would like to know of other support or services that the association provides.


  • Tebogo says:

    Yoh were can i start. my mom died of breast cancer 13years ago and till this day i haven’t excepted. she struggled with it for years and tried all treament but in 2001 she left us. How does a person cope with the lose and how do i get it out of my mind that i won’t die like here. Last year i started to have problems with my breast they were so painful, that i thought i had cancer. i strgled with the pain for months until i decided to get tested by the dr coz i couldn’t cope with the pain anymore. luckyly i was fine, nd started treatment to get the swolling down. but right there i realised i haven’t accepted my moms death and everytime i get a pain in my breasts i freak out and think the cancer has cought up with me. i would like to know more about your services and how can i get involved.

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Tebogo

      I am sad to hear about your mom’s passing. It is never easy to lose someone close to you, especially when you have seen them struggle with the illness as you have.

      Please contact your local CANSA Care Centre for support and advice with regards to breast cancer, as well as to arrange for counselling to deal with your loss and the fears you mentioned.

      Should you like to get involved, you can also discuss this with the staff at the Care Centre. Click here for contact details:

      Read more about female cancers and prevention here:

      Wishing you much strength!

  • CANSA Content Manager says:

    Dear Dominique

    I am sorry to hear that you are ill, but it is good to hear that you have a positive attitude towards beating this disease. Please contact CANSA’s Clinical Consultant, Magdalene Seguin, at re your queries on the Red Devil Chemo Treatment. Please also contact your local CANSA Care Centre for support and advice – centres will be open soon on the 7th January. Contact details here: – however if you need to chat to someone right away, please phone our Toll Free Call Centre on 0800 22 66 22.

    You can also join our Facebook Group for survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) – it is a great forum to meet other survivors and share information:

    Wishing you and your loved ones much strength!

  • ayesha says:

    three years ago i lost my mom to cancer. i remember the day date time to the minute, do you ever really forget that? my mom was my pillar of strength , she took all lifes blows with her head held high, and then she told me the news. as horrible as it sounds , the moment she confirmed her diagnoses i knew my mom was dieing. there isnt a day i think of those 6 months i spent living in a hospital caring for her, she was the cutest woman towards the end, laughter was still number 1 to her , my mom was my world, and today typing this with tears rolling down my face i can say mom god tries people he loves and you are threr with him, i love you mom , three years ago i was alone , now im a wife, look over me and your grandchildren cause no matter what , they will know what an amazing mom you were. i wish i am half of what you were to me

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Ayesha

      Thank you for sharing your story with us and remembering your mom. She sounds like a wonderful person and I am sure she would have been so proud of you and your family. If you need encouragement, don’t hesitate to contact your local CANSA Care Centre: or you can join our Champions of Hope Facebook Group. The group is for cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) but also for caregivers and loved ones to share their story.

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