Joel and family

In October 2003, my life took an unexpected turn when I received life-altering news about my 23-year-old son, Joel. He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and as a father, my world was shattered. Balancing emotions with the challenges we faced became crucial for Joel’s wellbeing.

My wife, Dashnee, our older child, Rhea, and I had to readjust our lives to accommodate the new normal. This included chemotherapy, lumbar punctures, hospital stays, and frequent visits to day clinics. Throughout it all, I strived to create a comfortable environment for our family. Though the pain was evident, we remained resilient, united by our unwavering focus on Joel’s treatment.

Joel, at the tender age of 4, underwent the treatment without any complications. We stayed strong, knowing that our primary goal was his recovery. After three years, he successfully completed his treatment. Fast forward to the present, Joel, now 23 years old, proudly graduated with a business science degree and completed his internship with Edward Snell in 2021.

Joel’s journey granted him a second chance at life, and he carries that gratitude with him always.

Eugene, CHOC Board Member

Lorenzo

In July 2020, we arrived at the CHOC Tygerberg Lodge when my child was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia. Over the course of two years, as my child underwent treatment and regular check-ups, we relied on CHOC’s services. Unfortunately, in 2023, the cancer resurfaced. Extensive tests, including bone marrow extraction, were conducted, confirming the presence of bone marrow leukemia. This news devastated my family and me. In May 2023, my child began the first round of chemotherapy but fell ill during the hospital stay, leading to an extended hospitalisation. This experience broke my heart, but I had to summon inner strength for my child, seeking solace and resilience through prayer.
 
As my son required ongoing treatment at Tygerberg Hospital, we were directed to the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA for accommodation. Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed and instantly felt at home. Aunty Marilyn’s kindness provided a comforting presence, and the dedicated staff further eased our worries. At CHOC, I momentarily forgot my own challenges as they embraced us like family. The well-appointed bedrooms and communal lounge allowed for relaxation, TV watching, conversations, and laughter. The connections forged at CHOC are truly invaluable. My son, Lorenzo, felt secure, welcomed, and had the opportunity to enjoy the company of other children.
 
I extend my deepest gratitude to the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation for their unwavering support to families impacted by childhood cancer. The lodges genuinely replicate the feeling of a “home away from home.” It’s a place where individuals facing similar challenges can unite, navigating the journey as one united family. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Aunty Marilyn and the entire staff at CHOC Tygerberg Lodge for their remarkable care and compassion.
 
 

Franklyn and Ronell

I am Ronell, and I am the mother of Franklyn.
Franklyn experienced two weeks of persistent headaches and vomiting. We initially sought help at the local clinic and then consulted a doctor who suspected it might be either an ear or stomach infection. On July 9, 2023, as I tried to wake him up, it became evident that he couldn’t respond, prompting us to rush him to Paarl Hospital. All initial tests yielded negative results, but we had to wait until Monday for hospital scans. On July 11, 2023, the scan results unveiled a brain tumor in Franklyn. In a hurry, we were transferred to Tygerberg Hospital, arriving at 09:00 a.m. Further tests were conducted, and after a surgical procedure, he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor.
Franklyn commenced treatment on August 17, 2023. Around the 7th of August, we were relocated to the CHOC Tygerberg Lodge, where we were warmly welcomed. Despite the heartbreak and constant worry about the future, staying here feels like a respite, akin to being on vacation. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation for their invaluable support during this challenging period.

Nolita Ndletye – Nutrition / Food Parcel Story

My name is Nolita Ndletye or maiden name Nosiphelo Langa; my child’s name Masibulele Langa.  We are from Ngqesheni (village) near Mount Frere Town. Masibulele was diagnosed with cancer in 2020. He had a big lump on the left side of his cheek. It looked so bad that people thought he was bewitched. It took 2 years for Masibulele to receive treatment; we were at our local hospital for a very long time without any help. We have been coming to Frere hospital regularly for check-ups and there hasn’t been any bad news. Masibulele is going to a remedial school because he is a slow learner; but we are thankful for his life. Life is slowly getting back to normality because I am working as a home-based career at an old age home. We have received great support and guidance from the Frere Medical team and most importantly CHOC staff members.

I will forever be grateful for everyone done for my family. I thank CHOC for the great initiative of giving the families the food parcels. I was shocked when I was handed the very heavy food parcel; I wasn’t expecting anything. Life is very hard in our villages; people are suffering with no jobs, no water, no food, and no government support. CHOC shows that they care for the vulnerable and poor. This food parcels means I must worry about meat for this week. I thank the Frere medical team. I am forever grateful to CHOC staff for the support and care but most importantly for loving our children. We really feel at home; our troubles are less.