CANSA Relay For Life

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Meet our 2022 Global Heroes of Hope (GHOH)

Announcing our South African 2022 Global Heroes of Hope!

We are honoured and excited to share with you the 2022 Global Heroes of Hope! Each one of our newly selected Global heroes brings a face and voice to the cancer battle as well as reinforces the importance of the work we do on a daily basis. Read full post about our 2022 Global Heroes of Hope…

Adriana Robinson: Global Hero of Hope (Survivor)

“CANSA Relay For Life gave me a platform to celebrate my survival”

The rug was pulled from beneath me when I was diagnosed with lymphoma in 1997. I had a 10-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter, but fortunately I was blessed with the best man on earth.

It started with a small lump in my neck, that within two days became as big as my hand. My treatment started immediately with 6 red chemo’s.  I felt like dying, but I have a good Lord. After completing treatment, I was in remission for 12 years. After that I was diagnosed again – but this time with a different kind of lymphoma. I went through all the treatments and chemotherapy for a second time. Read more.

Angelique Nel: Global Hero of Hope (Caregiver)

“CANSA Relay For Life has helped me and my family to have HOPE”

My daughter Chereez was diagnosed with stage 3 undifferentiated soft tissue sarcoma when she just turned three. I still remember the words when the doctor told us it was cancer – it cut through my heart as a hot knife through butter.  I already started to think of what now, what is next, where do we need to go, what do we need to do? Not knowing anything about cancer at that time made me realize we needed to create awareness.  Cancer as I knew then was diagnosed in older people not kids.  I needed to create awareness around that myth.

During this time there was no time for crying, no time to stand still and feel sorry for yourself. My husband and I decided we will do anything it take to help our daughter beat this. I just started a new job at a new company as well and had to manage it too with everything else going on. Read more.

Daniël de Witt: Global Hero of Hope (Caregiver)

“Give back that HOPE in the darkness”

My journey started when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was only seven at the time, but we helped with changing of her dressings and cleaning the wounds. We even stood by a dustbin ‘pulling’ her hair out, which sounded like fun at the time, but looking back it was very emotional for my mother because she was ‘losing’ the things that makes her a woman.

For a seven-year-old seeing your mother in pain is difficult, you cannot help her and you feel useless because the scars might be physical but there is nothing you can do to help fight off ‘the monster’.

I never actually told my story, I always just said that my mother had cancer, I only told my story when I was in Grade 10, when my teacher told her us of her battle. I was the only one in class with almost the same experience, so she asked me to tell my side of the story. I immediately burst into tears, because I never thought of that part of my life and never thought about the helplessness you feel when your mom is in the hospital, and you cannot just kiss the pain away. Read more.

David Lucas: Global Hero of Hope (Survivor)

“The opportunity to change even just one life”

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 and was very fortunate that I was in stage 1 and was amongst the first males in South Africa to have Brachytherapy treatment followed by radiation therapy.

I am still in remission, but personally believe that the cancer is there and therefore I focus on my health and remain aware of my lifestyle.  Cancer gave me a second chance and the opportunity to enjoy what life offers, and more than that the opportunity to share my story and be a motivation to other cancer survivors.

CANSA Relay For Life provided me with the opportunity to share my experience and advocate for a cancer free world. I have been an active supporter of Relay For Life events since 2011 when I started assisting with my local event on the West Rand. I have served as a volunteer, walked the track as a survivor and caregiver. CANSA Relay For Life have offered multiple platforms to me to share my personal experience as a cancer survivor and it has been my honour to act as motivational speaker at several Relay For Life events. Read more.

Marlene Jordaan: Global Hero of Hope (Caregiver)

“Cancer never sleeps therefore we Relay”

Cancer touched my life and so began my journey of solitude, fear of the unknown and the battle for my Faith. In 2014 my husband phoned me and said that his personal banker has cancer.  I was shocked did not know how to respond. I phoned her but was scared to talk to her not knowing how she will react. I continuously followed up to find out how she was doing, and over time we became friends. I often thought to myself, I have no idea how she remains so positive, always feeling well and never complaining.

When my husband was diagnosed in 2017, we decided we cannot tackle this journey with a negative mindset, we should be positive.  I remembered how positive Elza-Marie was over the years and knew I had to stay positive. I will admit it is not always easy, there are days that you feel you can sit in a corner and just cry your heart out.  When this happens, I remind myself we said positive, this is not an easy journey and it is not a death sentence, we will survive. The thing is you should never rely on your timing of survival but should trust in God’s timing as he knows when healing will be, it might never happen, but some people do survive, and we should remember the blessing we have to enjoy every day as it is your last day! Read more.

Marlene Pretorius: Global Hero of Hope (Survivor)

“By helping others, I believe you heal”

I was diagnosed in November 2018, underwent a double mastectomy in December 2018, and have had six operations since. It’s been a very long road, as I considered chemotherapy, but thought that a bilateral mastectomy will do the trick. I had an aesthetic flat closure in October 2021 because I developed cysts and painful scar tissue that is not going away. After the first two surgeries my skin did not want to heal, and then my body rejected the implants and they had to be removed. This was followed by the removal of my ovaries as we have such a high-risk family, and further reconstructive surgery.  Now in 2021 I once again must have everything removed. But I have been through this – and I will do it again.

I have been on Tamoxifen for the past 5 to 10 years, and the side-effects are terrible especially on my hair and nails, and that is why I decided to brave it and shave my hair (as it is a low dose chemo hormone inhibitor) I am nauseous daily, and face other challenges on the treatment – BUT! I AM ALIVE! Read more.

Mike Robinson: Global Hero of Hope (Caregiver)

“Relay For Life gave us a new outlook and life”

My journey started when my wife Adriana was first diagnosed in 1997.The diagnosis was a great shock, and I did not know how I will get through it.  I realised that I must be strong for her, especially when she got so sick after her chemo.  I had to help her with bathing, getting dressed, eating and so much more.  Sometimes I did not know how to carry on, but with my faith and support from family, friends, church and CANSA it became easier and easier to care for her. Our children were still small, so we had to go on, as life goes on.  Every day had its own challenges.  Some days were hard, and some days were better.

To see the one you love go through this is very difficult, but the day I married her it was to be through thick and thin.  My wife is also a trooper, as she is very strong and went through cancer three times.  She is also now in remission for 24 years.  Our faith in God has helped us get through this. The support from our friends, family and CANSA also helped to make the road a little easier. Read more.

Robyn Leon: Global Hero of Hope (Survivor)

“Relay For Life is a family of warriors”

On the 20th of November 2006 my life changed. Two cysts were discovered and removed from my ovaries, and I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. My thoughts were: “I have just turned 26 years of age”. I asked myself without thinking: “why me”? I paused and took a deep breath, tears rolling down my face. I looked at my mom, as I wiped those tears. Denial had the better of me. A nurse helped and assisted me with counselling regarding how to deal and accept the fact that I had cancer.

I was healing from one operation and going for another one: I felt endless fear. After the operation the doctor informed me that I had Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. They removed the ovary and traces found in my lymph nodes below the breasts. Sadly, my fallopian tube had to be removed too. I accepted and realised that I had to be strong and pull through. I would not allow this to break me. Read more.

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