Meet some of the inspiring people who have been nominated in our #StrongerTogether campaign, an empowering conversation about cancer.
Cathy Bhagwandin (Lenasia)Cathy is nominating her sister-in-law, Yvette Bhagwandin.
“My sister-in-law went for a general check-up, only for a lump to be discovered in her breast. She was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer known as Triple Negative Breast Cancer. With lots of support, plenty of encouragement and her own determination and resilience, she has overcome her illness and is currently in remission. Despite having a mastectomy, she carries herself with grace and strength, and looks as beautiful as ever.”
Bina Coetzee (Krugersdorp)Bina is nominating her parents, Danny and Susan Coetzee.
“In 2013 my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. Ever since, he’s been worried about leaving my mother behind as she suffers from a number of serious illnesses, including emphysema and skin cancer. To provide for her after he’s gone, he’s now invented an automotive product that has a large manufacturer interested in buying his idea. We’re all holding thumbs he pulls it off! It’s the only thing that’s keeping him going but he has shown us all what a dying man is capable of and that true love really does conquer all.”
Fatima Pasha (Goodwood)Fatima is nominating her husband, Nizaam, son Haydher (13) and daughter Hana (9).
“I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in May 2014, aged 39. I was scared of the journey ahead but my family really carried me through. I’m a financial advisor and I went from seeing clients to becoming the ‘client’ at doctor’s appointments. In December 2014, I had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Within four months I had to have my ovaries removed to prevent ovarian cancer when the Afrikaner BRC-1 gene was detected through genetic testing. At my first check-up recently, everything was clear. I’m thankful to be alive. I’m back at work and feel that I have a life again.”
Leigh Anne van Rooyen (Humansdorp)Leigh Anne is nominating her sister, Natalie Lohrentz.
“I was with my sister at the radiographers when she found out she had breast cancer, but at least the cancer hadn’t spread. She’s had treatment and it is now 10 months later. She’s just heard she needs no more chemo for now, which is great. We live far apart and that isn’t easy, but I know she has a lot of supportive people around her and that makes my heart content.”
Elsie Schoeman (George)Elsie is nominating her daughters Karla (12) and Emma (10).
“My two little blonde girls have grown up with the presence of cancer in their lives. My late husband, Fanie, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008, at the age of 36. When we had to tell our girls in 2013 that daddy wasn’t going to be with us for very much longer, I had to watch how my two angels’ hearts started breaking. That was the most difficult thing you could ever imagine having, because from that moment Fanie had to start saying goodbye to his princesses. But the same iron that flowed in Fanie’s veins is also in them and they became my teachers, my guides and my anchors. What a blessing to go through such an experience with two angels at my side. I’m privileged to have two mini replicas of Fanie around to remind me every day that even if cancer drags you through hell, you and your family can emerge stronger for it.”
Karlien de Wet (Johannesburg)Karlien is nominating her mother, Kitty Potgieter.
“My father lost his battle with brain cancer in 2011. He was in and out of hospital, had three brain operations and a lot of chemo. My mother sacrificed her life to look after him. She was with him 24 hours a day. To see my father waste away like that was hard on all of us, but my mother stayed strong – even though my father was always the strong one. She cared for him and loved him until the bitter end. She now lives alone in a small town and has had to adapt her lifestyle quite dramatically because my father’s income is no longer there. All of this she continues to do with a smile. Every day.”
Sara Smit (Struisbaai)Sara is nominating herself.
“In December 2005 I experienced discomfort in my left breast. That led to a mastectomy at age 43. I am a very positive person and with the support of my husband and staff I came through the operation and the treatment. But three months later I experienced discomfort in my right breast and a second mastectomy was on the cards. My dreams of owning my own business were being shattered. This time I needed six months of chemo. Nonetheless my body came back from that very well and I healed remarkably. I could start work again. Today I am a cancer survivor and I’ve won numerous awards for my work. Good luck to all the cancer patients out there. Remember: there is always hope if we just keep believing!”
Lana Laughland (Johannesburg)Lana is nominating her husband, Jimmy.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and underwent six months of chemo, a partial mastectomy and six weeks’ radiation. My wonderful husband was there for me 24/7. He cleaned the house, cooked the food, did the laundry and even cleaned up after me when I vomited. I was declared cancer-free in 2014, but was diagnosed with lung, breast and lymph cancer six months later. Through it all this wonderful man of mine has always been there, taking such good care of me and telling me every day how beautiful I am and how much he loves me.”
Jerminah Tsatsi (Johannesburg)Jerminah is nominating herself.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. This was the worst news ever and I thought my life was over. It was especially shocking as I was only 26 years old and I have no family history of cancer. I thought I was going to die and would have to leave my two-year-old son. Luckily my lymph node biopsy showed the cancer hadn’t spread, so I only needed a mastectomy.
I have completed 16 chemotherapy and 35 radiotherapy sessions, and just over a year after my diagnosis, I’m done with cancer treatment for now I only need my daily meds. The strength with which my family supported me was amazing and I would not have pulled through without them. I learnt that I am a strong, independent woman and I will not let cancer define me or block my dream of seeing my son grow up.”
The views and experiences expressed by the individuals featured in these personal accounts are in no way intended as an endorsement of any product or service – commercial, retail or otherwise.