CANSA Relay For Life

Fight Back

The responsibility rests with patients to contact CANSA for assistance. Read more...

Share Your Story

Please share your CANSA Relay For Life story with us in the comment box below.

Alternately, please join our Facebook group for cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) and caregivers: Champions of Hope – CANSA Survivors and share your journey with members of the group, who have all had cancer in the past or have it now.


  • Shash Singh says:

    Hi, I’m Shash Singh, and on 6 June 2014, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Papillary Thyroid cancer. It all started with a lump in the front of my throat. I wasn’t very worried because as lay person, I thought cancer was always hereditary so I was safe as no one in my family had ever had cancer. I went to my Dr, who felt that the lump was abnormal and sent me for a scan. At the scan, the Dr looked very worried and saw many abnormalities.

    Still, I was not very concerned. I was scheduled for a biopsy of my thyroid asap, however on the day of the op, it turned into a total removal of the thyroid (thyroidectomy), affected lymph nodes were also removed. When my husband broke the news to me, that the tests came back positive for the BIG C…I was utterly devastated, it was like my whole life just felt apart right there. It ended my dreams to have another child as I only had 1 beautiful 13 year old daughter. It took me about a week of crying, negativity and utter horror, to pull myself together, talk to knowledgeable people, read about my condition and change my attitude.

    Being diagnosed with a disease like cancer, you need a truly awesome support system, family and friends: u need people to pull u up, and keep u there. My wonderful family and few close friends really inspire me to live again, my fantastic hubby was with me every second of the way, encouraging me to keep going. Having a thyroid op is no joke, waking up to find 13 staples in ur neck and wondering if u will ever feel well again.

    Here I am now , 2 months down the line, done with Radioactive iodine pill treatment which meant 4 days in hospital in isolation, and on life long thyroid meds. The side effects have been bad, nausea, losing taste, extreme muscle pain, arthritis like pains, headaches, lethargy. On the bad days I have to just remind myself that I am happy and thankful to be alive, to have more time with my family and people who love me. On the positive side, people under 45, hardly die of this type of cancer, so that keeps me hopeful.

    Being diagnosed gives u and ur loved ones a second chance to live again, to do things right. Don’t waste the chance. As cancer survivors, lets stick together and help each other to fight this every single minute of every single day.


    My story started during September 2011 when my dear friend, Bastine Blaauw from Langebaan, West Coast, South Africa finally told me, after a three month struggle that she had cancer. Lung cancer. It must have been very hard for her to finally have the strenght to tell me the bad news. We had been friends for at least twelve years. I got excited when December started because that was the time when my holiday stared and i could go to her and just relax.

    Just the month before, i heard about the CANSA Relay that was started the previous year. The participants were all so excited about this. I gathered a few colleages, friends, neighbours and family to help me also get a team to enroll in the realy 2011. We were all so ill-prepared, not knowing what to expect and only managed to collect R4,000,00. but we were there….as a team….for Bastine. Because her name was Bastine and we called her Bassie or Bas, i decided that the name of the team would be Die BASSIES. what an appropriate name for a team.

    The next year, 2012 we were prepared and ready, raising funds by having diferent events. People were so forthcoming and sincere in their donations and the spirit in our team took flight. That year we managed to reach Bronze stage, third most money collected. What an awesome feeling it as.

    in the meantime, Bastine had her chemo therapy and all went well. She was ‘clean’ now. Or that is how we thought.

    In 2013 we reached the silver stage of collecting the most money. Our team also won the best team spirit trophy for 2013. We were in heaven. just wished that my friend could have made it to the realy to witness how far we have come. She had to attend hospital once again.

    This year, 2014, started so well. Bastine look as good as ever. She looked healthy and we were all so happy for her. Sh visited me a few times at my home in Worcester and we shared and talked a lot. In june she was admitted to hospital, very weak. Tests were run. Her husband phoned me to say it did not look good. Our team immediately got together and decided to go to Cape Town to the Military Hospital where she was admitted to. That was a Monday. She did not look well. She looked frail and very skinny. I talked and held her hand. Somehow i knew i would never see my friend again. I got the team together and i said a prayer. I was the last one to say good-by. She turned and gave me the nicest smile ever. When i walked away… the door….i turned to look one more time to my longtime friend. She waved and did not stop waving untill i finally left the room..

    The Thursday i got the news…..Bastine “Bassie” Blaauw, had passed on. Rest in Peace, my friend..


  • Amelia Oelofse says:

    I was diagnosed with colon cancer – Stage 3, in 2011 a few days before my 50th birthday. I went in for surgery as they had to cut out the tumor but while under it was found that the tumor was not contained in my colon but had grown and spread outside of my colon. 20 of my glands were tested and 17 came back as testing positive for spreading. I had to wear a colostomy bag had to get radiation as well as take the chemo tablet but it made me so ill that they had to stop the medication, only do the radiation and only after radiation start the chemo.

    I lost most of my colon and for a year and a half had the colostomy bag, I was more in hospital than out of hospital and it was an endless struggle with the bag, changing it, sometimes it was leaking and this caused a skin infection around the stoma. They decided to do put in a port as I had no more veins left and whilst doing that punctured my one lung and it collapsed, so I was back in hospital again. My count got so low at times that I had to be hospitalized and kept in isolation until my count was up again. The chemo was not a walk in the park and it was only my daughter and myself living in PE with no friends.

    In Feb 2012 I went for a PEP scan and it was declared that I was in remission. In April 2012 the bag was reversed and I was looking forward to a normal life again but there was complications and the bag was back again but this time into my small intestine it was inward so again I had endless trouble changing the bag and it was raw around the stoma all off the time.

    Then started all the other trouble, I started getting abscesses one after the other, once again I was more in hospital than out off hospital and from April 2012 to June 2012 I had to be cut open 8 times for them to drain these abscesses. Dr Van NIekerk from Green Acres in PE then decided that I had to be put into the isolation unit in my own room with the wounds open and all they did 3 times a day was to come and irrigate the open wounds. I was there for almost 2 months.

    I thought I was going to die there and never see my family again as they were all in JHB. It was touch and go for me but I prayed so hard because I wanted to see my grandchildren grow up and see all 3 my kids happy and secure in life but at that time it seemed that it was not going to happen. I was released from hospital at the end of June and now ready to try and pick up the pieces.

    Slowly but surely I got better and even went back to work again. My only problem is that now I have a tummy that constantly go and I sometimes have no control over this. I went back to Dr Van Niekerk and was told to take gastron, even if I have to take 12 a day to keep my tummy under control.

    I live a fairly normal life now and can say that I am a cancer survivor after being through hell and back. I often think of what I went through and then I just start crying. Is this normal? I often hear of people passing away because of cancer and then this makes me think that there must have been a higher purpose for me because I survived against all odds.

    I would like to do something but I don’t know what and how to start and wonder why I don’t feel as inspired as all the people around me that has survived.

    I know it is great thing to have survived cancer and I pray and thank God every day but I don’t feel the greatness of being a survivor but I want to feel like that and also share my story as there was a lot of hardship and pain that went with it. I often think of people doing a lot for breast cancer and I am aware how bad that is and how it affects a woman with no breasts or just one breast.

    It is just as bad to have to be a woman and having to wear a bag on the outside of your body and having to clean it all the time and it leaks and breaks at the most inopportune moment so that is just as -unfeminine as not having breast or just one breast.

    I would like to salute and celebrate people like me who knows all about wearing a colostomy bag. I AM SURVIVOR AND WANT TO FEEL WHAT ALL THESE PEOPLE FEEL on this website.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Amelia

      Thank you so much for sharing about your journey as a cancer Survivor. It is an overwhelming experience – you have faced and overcome so much. Please read our new section dedicated to our Survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) here:

      You will find resources and online support groups here that may help to answer some of the questions you have and may encourage you as you live beyond cancer.

      Please also get in touch with the staff at your local CANSA Care Centre – they can arrange counselling if you would like – see contact details here:

  • Bets Panaino (Angel one) says:

    I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma breast cancer
    In 2010 26 Jan. I had the tumor removed and went for chemo
    and then radiation. With my first follow up they found that it started
    growing in my other breast. My Dr oncologist adviced me to have a double
    Mastectomy with emediate reconstruction. It was done 27th July 2011.
    I am truly thankful that I had the surgery.

    I’ve lost my dad and 2 other close fam members in 2007 and 2011 with cancer.
    Another shock came the 5th of Des 2012 my husband was diagnosed with
    Pankrias cancer, and 8 weeks post opp the 27th Jan 2013 he past away.
    I am so afraid when a new year starts, the past few years has been really
    sad and difficult. But all this has tought me a great lesson in life, I don’t take
    annything for granted. Life is so short we have to live every day as if it is our
    last day.
    I am so gratefull to have fam and friends that love and care for me, they have
    been my strength and walked this difficult road with me. And our heavenly
    Father is carrying me step by step.
    Thanks for letting me share my story.

    Bets Panaino

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Bets

      I am so sad to hear that you and your loved ones have been dealt such a blow by cancer. Thank you for your sharing your story with us.

      Please join our group for cancer survivors on Facebook (Champions of Hope) so that you can also encourage members of this group and that they can encourage you:

      If you should need counselling or support in the future, please contact your local CANSA Care Centre – see details re services provided, as well as other online support resources here:

  • Elaine says:

    Hi, my naamis Elaine en ek was 4 jaar gelede gediagnoseer met borskanker. Ek het ‘n Maart 2014 uitgevind dat die kanker versprei het na my rugwerwels. Altesaam 8 plekke op my rug. Ek was plat geslaan, want volgens my 1ste onkoloog, sou die kanker nooit versprei nie, want ek het dit vroegtydig ontdek. My eerste reaksie was woede teenoor my onkoloog. Die 2de reaksie was vrees vir die onbekende. Wat lê voor vir my!!! Ek het nou vrede gemaak met die woede teenoor my onkoloog want hy is ook maar net ‘n mens wat foute maak. Ek huil baie oor die feit dat die kanker versprei het, want ek is gek oor die lewe en om te lewe. Ek was altyd so aktief gewees, oefeninge gedoen, geswem, ens. Ek lewe nou ‘n baie rustiger lewe, gun myself om net te bly lê in die bed as ek nie goed voel nie. My onkoloog gee vir my so 5 tot 6 jaar. Ek glo in ‘n Almagtige God en glo Hy sal my genees! Ek kry my krag elke dag van Hom om op te staan en te lewe!!
    Sterkte aan almal wat hierdie styd stry soos ek.

  • Hi here my name is Roslyn and i am a cancer survivor. I had High grade non hogkins lymphoma approx 23 years ago. I had a year of chemo , radium and 14 lumber puntures. I have also lost alot of family and freinds to cancer that is why i want to help raise funds to battle this killer disease and thanks to alot of other people around the world are doing the same as i am we will one day have a cancer free future.So thankyou

  • Louise Wepener says:

    Today we honour of friend and mother Anthea Moore who passed away on 13/12/2013 after a long illness. This will be the first year I will attending Vygieskraal without her and tonight we celebrate her life at Vygieskraal…… Missing you loads Anthea Baker Moore. Lots of Love Louise Wepener & your loving daughter Bobbi Moore. Forever in our hearts, safe in God’s arms. Until we meet again my friend. XXXXXX

  • Jade Marinus says:

    Hi, my name Is Jade and I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 5th Sept 2012. It all started on the 1st of Sept (beginning of Spring) when I decided it was time to “get in shape” and went off to the gym. While exercising on one of the machines I felt a pain in my left breast and upon examination found a lump. I fiddled with it the entire weekend and by Monday it was pretty sore, which was just as well, ‘cos that prompted me to go and see my doctor. My doctor agreed it was unusual and sent me off for a mammogram and scan. This test found “a suspicious looking lesion” so I was sent off to a surgeon for his opinion. He looked, felt and declared it cancer before he even did the biopsy – hey, these guys just know – anyway, it turned out that it was in fact a grade three lump and I need a mastectomy. From finding a lump on the 1st Sept I was scheduled for a mastectomy on the 11th Sept 2012. EVERYTHING changed in a matter of 2 weeks – I did not smoke, drink, eat bad – I exercised and took care of myself and still, here I was with breast cancer. No-one in my family had had it so I was pretty shaken up by it all.

    Nevertheless, I had the op, did the chemo, lost my hair (what an experience!) and RECOVERED by God’s awesome grace. The day after my operation I was visited by a breast cancer survivor from the Cancer Assoc. She brought me a “goodie bag”! It was filled with advise on what to do, where to go, and her contact details if I ever needed someone to talk to – How awesome was that!

    As a result of my diagnosis, and because I spoke out about it, I discovered that we had quite a few ladies in our church who had had breast cancer but had never spoken out about it – nevertheless, they became my buddies and have been a huge source of comfort and support to me.

    I am now 18months down the line, I go for three-monthly check-ups with my oncologist and at my last mammogram I was declared “all clear”. I have also just recently found the courage to start looking at a prosthesis so that I can get “back to normal”.

    I am so blessed by God and my family and friends that I have decided it is time to “Stand Up 2 Cancer” and share my story to encourage ladies to check their breasts, have a regular mammogram and take action as soon as something”unusual” presents itself.

    I am participating in my first ever Relay for Life at Vygieskraal on Friday, 7 March and I can’t wait! Thank you for providing this site where I can “speak” about my experience and let others know that Cancer can be beaten!

  • Nosi says:

    Hi All

    i lost my mom to cancer a year ago 2 September 2012 it was the most painful experience and sometimes i think about it . she discovered she had cancer in 2006 and it was stage 4 . she fought the cancer and she was a cancer survivor until it resurfaced again . She didnt look sick and at time we would really forget that she was fighting a difficult fight . When she passed away i felt lost and its still the case at times but i told myself i would join causes for cancer & help educate people about cancer

    I have seen mostly that people are blinded by cancer & they dont really know anything about it and how difficult it is and how much care and support the cancer patience and survivors need from family , friends and communities . i would like to do something am in the Pmb area

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Nosi

      I am sad to hear that you lost your mom to cancer. It is wonderful that you would like to raise awareness re cancer in your community. Please contact the PMB CANSA Care Centre directly to discuss volunteering for them. Volunteers are provided with training by CANSA. See contact details here: 033-342 9837

  • Narina Davids says:

    Hi all

    I just want to give those people that still battling against cancer HOPE. I am a cancer survivor I was 2 months old when I was diagnosed with leukemia cancer and it was a hard time for my mother because she didn’t have the support of my dad, but she had GOD on her side and she never stopped praying for me and at the age of 5 the doctors gave me 2 weeks time,but God had a better plan and He healed me completely and I want you to know I turned 30 on the 1st of February 2014 through the Grace of God.

    What God did for me He is able to do it for you, trust Him and know that He payed the price for te cancer you battling with. Let my story be an encouragement for you today. God can and God will if u just Believe and Trust Him completely.

    All Thanks to God

  • shay says:

    Hi all.

    I lost my gran to liver cancer 9 years ago. It still feels like yesterday. I lost a friend 2 years ago. He was only 19. A friend of mine lost his brother. I see the pain in his mothers eyes. No parent should ever outlive their children. But we believe God needed him, my gran and my friend for something greater. It hurts to lose a loved one. We just have to find strength in God.

    We take part in the CANSA Relay For Life every year. It’s an amazing event. Meeting others who are also fighting the battle and seeing how positive they are,makes you live life to the fullest.

    It’s truely amazing how positive the survivors are. Even those still fighting the battle. They are such inspirations to those who are fighting the battle against cancer.

  • Bets Panaino (Angel one) says:

    Ek is 26 Jan 2010 gediagnoseer met Lobulere Karsinoom
    Ek was net 51 jaar oud.
    My lewe het daardie dag drasties verander!!
    Ek herleef daai dag oor en oor. Ek was woorde loos,
    My son het verander in ‘n koue eensame donker gang.
    Al was daar honderde mense om my, het ek soos ‘n klein
    Miertjie gevoel, ek wou vlug van als en almal af. Die mure
    het om my gevou. Als het so vinnig gebeur my operasie, toe
    Chemo en daarna Radiation.. En met my eerste op volg
    besoek vind hulle nog ‘n tumor in my ander bors.
    Ek onthou hoe ek nooit wou slaap nie, want ek was so
    verskriklik kwaad as ek in die oggend wakker word.
    want ek wou nie meer lewe nie. My rede dat ek nie wou
    lewe nie, was omdat ek so skuldig gevoel het dat ander famielie
    Lede nie die stryd teen hul kanker gewen het nie, so hoe kon ek
    dan leef, dit was vir my so onregverdig gewees.
    Kanker het oor ons pad gekom vanaf 2007, my Susters
    Kind se man was gediagnoseer met leukemia op ‘n jong
    Ouderdom in sy veertigs, ‘n jaar en agt maane later verloor
    hy sy stryd teen kanker (Okt 2008)
    Die jaar daarna (2009) word haar pa my suster se
    man gediagnoseer met asbestose long kanker. Die Dr se met chemo kan sy lewe dalk met ‘n jaar of twee
    Verleng word. Hy verloor sy stryd in een jaar een maand ( Julie 2010)
    sterf hy, dit was vir my die ergste om hom te
    sien baklei hy was so vol lewens lus.
    My pa sterf ook in Apr 2010 met prostaat kanker. Wat
    Ons nooit geweet het hy het nie, hy self het ook nie geweet
    nie. Ons het dit eers ge hoor toe hy op geneem is in die hosp met erge
    pyn. Ek wou en kon nie meer aangaan nie. Dit was vir my so baie om
    mee te moes deel. nes ek dink als gaan nou beter. Dan kom die
    slegte tyding weer.
    My seun se pa verdrink 5 Junie 2011 in die see in ‘n frats on-geluk.

    2011 word my swaar wreed vermoor deur twee jong seuns, hy was
    ook in sy veertigs.
    Weer dink ons fam dat niks ons verder kan tref nie.
    Toe gebeur die volgende tragedie. My man word siek so einde
    2011. Ons sien dokters en spesialiste as ook ‘n internis, niemand
    Kan vastel wat fout is nie. So om en by Junie, Julie 2012 raak hy net
    erger. Aug vind die dokter dat hy skielik diabeties is.
    Ons gaan op die end na ons huis Dokter toe, toe ons hom se van
    die diagnose, maak hy dadelik ‘n afspraak by ‘n ander
    Spesialis. Hy vermoed kanker.
    5 Des 2012 word my man gediagnoseer met pankreas
    kanker die 7 de Des word hy geopereer maar die kanker was
    te ver versprei. Sy toestand verswak so vinnig. En agt weke post opp
    27 Jan 2013 neem die Here hom ook huis toe.
    Ek wil nie meer dink nie. Ek mis hom so baie.
    Dis nou twee jaar later nadat ek gediagnoseer was met my kanker en ek ly
    nog steeds aan erg depressie.
    Daar is ook nog operasies wat vir my voorle.
    Ek weet dat die Here my deur als laat gaan en ek probeer
    glo dat hy vir my ‘n groter plan het.
    Maar ek kan nog nie die lig sien nie. Eendag is ek op en die
    ander weer in ‘n diep donker gat.
    Ek bid dat ek weer eendag my son sal terug kan kry!

    Groete Bets ( Angel one)

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Beste Bets

      Ek is verskriklik jammer om te hoor dat jy so baie mense wie jy liefgehad het, verloor het. Jy self is ook persoonlik deur baie met jou kanker ervaring. Daar is nie troos vir dit wat jy deurgemaak het nie. Maar soos jy genoem het – jy lewe nogsteedts. Daar is beslis ‘n doel vir jou lewe en jy kan so baie deel met ander in soortgelyke omstandighede – al het hulle dalk nie so baie geliefdes verloor nie – sal ‘n deel van jou lewensreis dalk vir hulle baie beteken, as jy sou kies om dit met hulle te deel.

      Depressie is ‘n nare ding, neem een tree vorentoe op ‘n slag en moet jou ook nie eenkant hou nie, dit sal net erger word. Raak betrokke by jou gemeenskap of as KANSA vrywilliger.

      Kontak asseblief die KANSA Sorgsentrum naby jou en indien jy berading nodig het – Kontakbesonderhede Sorgenstra: – kan die personeel dit reel. Hulle sal jou ook kan bystaan met die operasies wat voorle. Moet jou net nie afsonder nie en bowenal moenie hoop verloor nie. Die lewe is nie regverdig nie, maar die Here is goed en Hy is getrou – en Hy het wel ‘n Groter Plan.

      Sterkte vir jou!

  • Rafiqa Dukhi says:

    hi my name is Rafiqa Dukhi and my daughter Laylah Dukhi was diagnosed with Nephroblastoma (kidney cancer) in February 2011 since then she has undergone surgery where they removed her left kidney with the tumor which was on stage 4 and received chemotherapy for 1 year as well as radiotherapy.

    My life changed as well as my family’s lives, it was the most traumatic and worst experience of my life. As a mother you never want to see any of your kids that way but through God’s will he took us through it. Laylah always had a smile on her face no matter what she was going through.

    She is now in remission and happy to play with her twin sister and older brother.

    She is my life inspiration.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Rafiqa

      I am not sure how old your daughter, Laylah, is – I am assuming she is a minor – but if you need support or encouragement, please contact Vera van Dalen at email: – she heads up our support to children, teens and families affected by cancer. Vera’s son also had cancer, so she has a lot of wisdom to share. Sometimes it is just good to chat to someone who understands what you have been through.

      It is wonderful news that Laylah is now in remission!

  • 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 among’st 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

  • Samantha Meyer says:

    My 77 year old grandmother had her womb removed on the new year of 2012. It seemed after the operation she was the life of the ball. She made a full recovery within a few weeks. She was back in church, praising God like she always did. She was always laughing and joking around. If only we knew this was to be her last year with us. Sadly, on the 18th of December she lost her battle. To see the pain she had to endure (even though she always smiled ) was… There’s no words that can describe it. At least now we know she’s in a better place where there is no more pain. She will always be loved and remembered. I only found out after her passing about relay for life and think its a great way of honouring her

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Samantha

      Thank you for sharing your story with us – your grandmother sounds like an inspiring lady! Relay is indeed a wonderful way to show your admiration for her and to remember her. Thank you for supporting CANSA in the fight against cancer by participating.

  • Keitumetse says:

    Hi, my name is Keitumetse and I am a cancer survivor. When I was 6years old I suffered from kidney cancer. My kidney was removed and ever since I am a healthy, strong young women of 23years. I am donating towards cancer organizations because I am forever thankful for beating death. I would like to give more by joining this movement. Be strong for those who are ill and have hope that you can/will fight the disease.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Keitumetse

      Thank you for your inspiring comment – it is wonderful to hear that you are healthy and willing to join the fight against cancer. If you have not yet joined your local Relay For Life event, please contact your nearest CANSA Care Centre to find out details of the next RFL event in your area:

  • Yolandi Claassens says:

    When my Grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and started treatment, I took interest in Relay for life to show her moral support in her battle against Cancer. Although being there for her, supporting her throughout her battle, throughout her chemo, doctor appointments, etc, I also wanted to show to her on a more fisical way my support. So our cell group entered a team, and I decided to try and walk a 100 rounds for her. Unfortuanetly only managing 94 rounds throughout the night, I promised her I will do a 100 rounds for her the next year! But my ankle gave in 2 days later with Chronic Tendonitits in my achilles heel. After treatment, my ankle gave in again a few months later, and the orthopedic surgeon started treating my ankle. I wanted to stay true to my promise, but knew I could not do it when the surgeon strictly told me no laps! I begged and pushed, and convinced him that I would be very careful and responsible with only 20 laps through out the whole night. We agreed on that 🙂 So I decided since I couldnt live up to my promise the way I planned, I might as well find another way to do so. So I started focussing on fundraising.

    Being a cell group with no funds, we had to be creative. But we were determined! I wanted to raise funds equivalent to the 100 laps I pormised! Sadly my grandmother lost her battle after 5 years (a true mirracle by words of her oncologyst as to the fact that my grandmother lived about 3 years longer than expected) and we buried her the day before our first fundraising event took place. it was an emotional time for me. But every fundraising event we held, were therapeutic for me. All my emotions and hurt, the lost, the tears and the longing of hearing her voice one more time, were all poured into the fundraisings. By the time our relay took place in November, our team had raised almost R10 000!

    On the night of the relay I did my 20 rounds, but mostly used the evening to just remember my grandmother, and to honour her memory…….which really helped me to work through the last emotions of lost. But! it didnt stop there. I then decided that my grandmother didnt fight this battle for nothing. She fought it so that her legacy will live on! Yes, she was just an ordinary person to the world, but to me she was much more than that. I couldnt just leave it there…I had to make her death worth something, so I decided to commit myself to be on our local relay’s committee. I knew that I could make a difference and help other people to experience the relay the same way I did….I can help create a moment for someone to finally accept cancer, to encourage them to fight cancer, to give them hope, to celebrate life, or just to make peace with loosing a loved one and remembering them, working through the emotions…. That would make my grandmother smile and say, my battle was worth it!

    So now I’m on our commitee, and I love doing it. It became a passion. Something worthwhile to put my energy in. Something to do in honour of my grandmother, to let her memory live on…She is my inspiration and my ‘drive’….. thats why I relay!

    And off course to say a huge thank you to CANSA for everything you did for her. When she had her Mastectomy, the next morning a lady from CANSA visited her, encouraged her, gave her a prosthetic breast. She organized that someone from my grandmother’s hometown visited her when my Granmother went back home. That lady never stopped visiting my grandmother, stopping by for tea, just being there. When my Grandmother had to sit at the hospital for her dr’s appointment and chemo, there were always Cansa ladies there with tea and snacks for the patients and their caregivers…If people that doesnt even know my grandmother are willing to do that for her, why not me?

    So to honour my gran, to honour those people who were there supporting someone they didnt even know, and to say thank you to your dedication in supporting people with Cancer, I will put in all effort to join the fight, to give hope to those in need of it, to celebrate with those who survived their cancer,to fight back with those still busy with the fight, and to remember those who fought a brave battle untill the end….This is why I relay, let us join hands, lets us fight back!!

  • Cheryl de Wit says:

    My sister, Lynn Thiart, posted something about me on 5 March 2013. All I can say is that I am soooo blessed for having the friends, family, collegues and community that I have. If it was not for them I don’t think that I would have had such a positive experience after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Even now that I am cancer free I am continuosly surrounded by love from everybody that I know. I am part of the CANSA Relay For Life team these days so that I (in my small way) can say thank you to the world for standing behind me throughout my diagnosis and treatment. CANSA stood by me and helpled me all the way and I will always be grateful. Maybe one day I can be able to help somebody who has to fight cancer. The biggest lesson I learnt is that in HOPE there is STRENGTH. So don’t forget to Celebrate! Remember! Fight Back and never ever give up HOPE!!!

  • Rebecca Ralefe says:

    Hi as i go through your polokwane relay for life i see my mother,she has been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 she managed to overcome the painful treatment of chemotherapy and held on with a positive lifestyle with boundaries,she has been supportive of others in the same situation. last year 2012 she went for yet another major operation to remove her gall stones,the Dr’s at Lesedi clinic found a growth on her neck,sadly she could not deal with the ordeal of having to deal with two different things at a time,ever since the operation last year her health hasn’t been well/good,she took a biopsy few weeks ago and it came positive for lymphoma,at the moment i can’t stop thinking of how could such a wonderful,humble,caring and loving person like her go through all this without the support that she really deserves,i wish i could be supportive but my question is how and where do i start? i really wish she can be around people who have managed to overcome all this and that she keeps fighting breaking down inside every time i think of her health

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Rebecca

      Your mother sounds like a wonderfully brave woman. It must be very hard to see her struggling. Please contact your local CANSA Care Support Centre for counselling and advice as to how you can support your mom. Also for support for yourself. Here are the contact details:

      You can also download our CancerCare Coping Kit Audioprogramme here:

      We have a Facebook Group for cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) – all the members have either had cancer in the past or have it now and they are very supportive of one another. Caregivers may also join this group: – if your mom doesn’t have access to Facebook, the CANSA Care Centre staff will be able to refer her to a support group.

      See what Cameron had to say about supporting his wife when she had cancer: “Caring for someone with cancer is the toughest job I’ve ever had. You have to be careful with your emotions and you have to show strength, no matter what you think is going on or what will happen. However, when people offer help, you should always accept. They help you to realize that we don’t face the toughest challenges alone and that there is all kinds of love in this world to help you through rough times.” You can read more here: – for stories of hope click here:

      Participating in a Relay For Life Event can also be very uplifting.

      Wishing you and your mom much strength at this time!

  • eugene says:

    hie, i really never realised how serious this disease is until now when a close friend and mentor has it. she has been in remission for 8years now and the cancer has come back again. to see the pain she goes through is really painful for me. her children are approaching teen years when they need her more and it breaks my heart as they watch the side effects of chemotherapy on their mother. we are all praying that she wins this battle, she is the nicest person i know.

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Eugene

      It is very painful to watch someone you care for struggle with cancer. Please arrange for counselling for your friend and her family through her local CANSA Care Centre if she does not already have support: – read more about the support CANSA offers to those affected by cancer here:

      If you are worried regarding her teenage children and how they are coping with their mother’s illness, you can contact Vera van Dalen – email: – she heads up support for children & teens who have cancer themselves BUT also for children & teens whose parents are affected by cancer.

      Your friend is also welcome to join our Facebook group for cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) – the members have all had cancer in the past or have it now and are very supportive of one another:

      For more information on cancer and prevention & early detection please visit the CANSA website: – if you would like to learn more about cancer and coping with it so that you can better understand what your friend is dealing with, download CANSA’s CancerCare Coping Kit Audioprogramme here:

      Wishing you, your friend and her family much strength at this time.

  • Kelly says:

    I lost my mom to cancer on 4 January 2012. She was diagnosed on the 15 December 2011. She suffered immensely without showing her pain. I feared the day i’d lose my mother. My mother was a very determined, independent and faithful woman, even through all the pain she endured she always gave us her warmest smile. It was the hardest thing to endure, seeing my mom going for all the tests and the pain she experienced.

    It is now a year and two months later and we still miss her very dearly. We believe and know that God needed her for a better purpose. My family and I (even my mom. when she was still healthy) often took part in CANSA relays, she was always the one who would walk right through the night, with very little breaks, while we watched and cheered her on for her determined spirit…

    Since losing my mom to this horrible disease I vowed to take part in as many cancer awareness events as possible, I really feel for those still fighting the battle, I always pray for them!

    Keep the Faith!


    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Kelly

      Thank you for your inspirational post – I have posted it on our Facebook pages too to encourage those who are still fighting cancer. If you would ever like to become more involved with CANSA as a volunteer, read more here: – it is wonderful that you are prepared to support in any way you can and this is a lovely tribute to your mother.

  • Candice Randall says:

    My very brave and beautiful sister, Melanie Norton, lost her 10 year battle with stage 4 breast cancer on the 18th June 2012 at the young age of 46.

    I would simply like to pay her a tribute by letting everyone know what an amazing woman she was. She was the most amazing person I knew and expect will ever know in my life. Throughout her fight, she never once thought of herself and always had a smile on her face.

    When she was first diagnosed at the age of 36, I myself was only 22 and never fully understood what stage 4 cancer meant. Now, I have done extensive research on the particular cancer that she had, and I am brought to my knees thinking of what she had to endure. I am truly amazed at the strength in which she handled the entire ordeal from beginning to end.

    She was truly the “glue” that kept the family together, and while life carried on for all of us around her, she continued to be there for everyone – always the advice giver with open arms, a listening ear and sparkling, smiling eyes. In fact, there are no words that could do her justice, but I believe I had to try. I am truly blessed to have had her for a sister, and she will live on in my heart and mind forever.

    So, on Saturday, I will be walking in honour of her – I’m sure that she would be proud.

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Candice

      Thank you for sharing such a moving tribute to your sister, Melanie, with us. I have posted it on our Facebook groups | pages to encourage others. It is wonderful for you to be honouring her memory in such a tangible manner, as taking part in a relay event.

  • Lynn Thiart says:

    My sister, Cheryl de Wit was diagnosed January 2012 with cancer! She has not gone to lie down and let cancer get the better of her. She has held her head up high, put on her pink stilletos and a tiara on her head (even when she lost her hair due to the chemotherapy) and has inspired us all to be better people, take care of ourselves more, to thank our God everyday for what we have and held our hands through her difficult times. In August 2012 she underwent a double mastectomy and yet, never a bad word. She is the most awesome person I know and even through it all, she always has a smile on her face, never giving up hope, never losing faith and believing in her own words “always to dance in the storm”

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Lynn, thank you for sharing about your sister, Cheryl – what a powerful testimony – she sounds like an inspirational person! I am going to share this on CANSA’s Facebook platforms to encourage others who are struggling with cancer. Please let us know if Cheryl has the support she needs or if there is something CANSA can do to help – email Debbie:

  • Hi my name is Nerisa, my husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008, this happend at a time when we both least expected it. He had to go for surgery to have his thyroid removed. This was a very difficult time for me and still is… Last year I also lost my grandmother to skin cancer, my family is still trying to deal with the loss as she was our pillar, a person that everyone could depend on. Although my husband has been in remission for 1 year now, I still live with the fear that it could pop up again at any time, he has to go for scans every six months,but my trust is in God and I believe that we will grow old and grey together. Im really looking forward to entering the relay for life this year, I just feel that i need to do something to help with the fight against cancer.

  • sheryl naidoo says:

    Hi, my name is sheryl naidoo and I just lost my grandfather on the 30th of november from cancer, he was diagnosed with 4th stage cancer last year december and he really struggled this year, he was a fighter, during his sickness he would never say he is sick, he was always okay to make everyone happy bt the cancer ate him from the inside, he really suffered, I can never imagine a human go through so much pain, it made me cry every time I saw him as the cancer tore him apart until his last days of life, I would like to do something in stanger, kwa duguza in tribute of him bt how do I go about doing it?

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Sheryl

      I am sorry to hear about your grandfather. It is very difficult to watch someone you love suffer. Please contact your local CANSA Care Centre for support – see link to contact details here: – the staff will also let you know where you can offer your support in honour of your grandfather. They can also let you know how to get involved in a local Relay For Life event if you wish.

  • Charisse Nelson says:

    Hi.. I lost my fav gran last year Aug 19th 2011 to liver cancer and my father has Melanoma and Basil cancer in his left side of his face.. Dr’s at Universitas did opperate but they couldn’t get it all.. Dr said the slitest bumb to the head can triger the cancer and there is nothing they can do.. So its only a matter of time.. I’m scared of te day I have 2 go into his room and find him not with us anymore.. Me and him are very close so I dnt know what I will do if I have to lose him.. And just that thought and fear of losing him is busy driving me insane..

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Dear Charisse

      I am sorry to hear about your father. Please contact your nearest CANSA Care Centre for support in the New Year. Care Centres open on 7th January 2013. However, if you need to chat to someone now, please call our Toll Free Call Centre on 0800 22 66 22. It is very scary when a loved one’s health is not certain – please contact our staff for advice and support.

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