Yoren Chetty – Doing his part
We hear how Yoren Chetty made the most of his year off after a cancer diagnosis by furthering his studies and raising money for Movember.
Yoren Chetty (40) lives in Fourways, Gauteng.
Yoren, a certified financial planner professional, was residing in Shanghai, China in October 2019 due to a business opportunity, when he woke up in the middle of the night with severe pain and swelling in the testicular area.
In November, he consulted with a GP in China, who ran an ultrasound and referred him to a urologist. After the consultation, Yoren was sent for an MRI and CAT scan in early December.
Since Yoren had a planned visit to South Africa in January 2020, he decided to get a second opinion. The urologist in SA reviewed Yoren’s medical reports and ran a PET scan which confirmed the presence of a tumour. Surgery was advised.
Unfortunately, Yoren never went back to China as a result. He decided to take a year sabbatical to focus on his health.
Surgery was a success and the pathology test revealed that the tumour was cancerous. Due to the PET scan results also showing the cancer had spread to other areas of the body, Yoren was referred to an oncologist who recommended chemotherapy. Fertility preservation was discussed with both the urologist and oncologist prior to the commencement of treatment.
Three rounds of chemotherapy started in March and ended in May.
Telling his close family
The 40-year-old says, “Whilst it’s an extremely personal part of my body, it’s nothing to be ashamed of when discussing it with close members of your family. I don’t believe there is a stigma and whilst not particularly common, it’s a real health issue faced by men. One doesn’t do anything to cause it. It just happens, and I’m a statistic.”
The support from Yoren’s close family was invaluable. “They were extremely supportive. I wouldn’t have coped physically, to cook or do household chores, or even drive to treatment if I were on my own during that time,” he explains.
Making the most of his free time
Even though Yoren decided to take the year off to focus on his health, after treatment he decided to further his studies to be able to practice as a certified financial planner professional in the UK in addition to SA.
New York City Marathon
Before being diagnosed, Yoren planned to run the New York City Marathon in November 2020, to celebrate his 40th birthday. “The window period to apply to get into the race was in February 2020 and unfortunately I wasn’t successful in getting in using that channel, given the volume of applications and my lack of experience in running marathons. It was then suggested to all those that didn’t get in that we could still apply with a charity and if selected by that charity, one would need to raise a certain amount of money in USD to reserve their spot,” Yoren explains.
“At this point, I was already diagnosed and when researching various charities which were mostly American, I spotted Movember on the list which was global. I applied to them using the motivation that I had recently been diagnosed and was undergoing treatment. Suprisingly they accepted me onto their team.”
Yoren was then tasked to raise USD 3 500 (R54 000) to keep his spot in the race. He managed to raise R54 000 by the end of November 2020 through online campaigning. He then matched that amount personally, and at the last minute someone donated R1000. So, in total Yoren raised R109 000 for Movember in 2020.
The New York City Marathon was changed to a virtual race due to COVID. Yoren ran the 42,2km in JHB on 1 November in under seven hours. He still hopes to run the real race in the future when it’s safe enough to travel.
Getting involved with Movember
Now that Yoren was part of the Movember team, during the month of November he was given opportunities to speak on radio and appear on national TV regarding men’s health issues. Yoren adds that this assisted him in his reach in terms of fundraising.
Since Yoren is also a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, he wrote a motivation letter to their charitable foundation asking them to endorse Movember as part of their annual Worldwide Grant. Once again, Yoren did his part and Movember benefitted as they were awarded USD 2 500 (R38 000) in January 2021.
As a token of appreciation and to thank Yoren for his great efforts, Movember gave him a two-night stay at a hotel in Cape Town.
Yoren says, “I haven’t taken it up as yet due to the pandemic. Plus, I didn’t do it for the prize, there was a bigger cause at play here.”
Speaking about his cancer
Yoren explains that he is open to telling people that he had Stage 2 cancer. However, going into intimate details is something he isn’t comfortable with.
“I hope that most people would be understanding of that, especially if they were in my shoes.”
Nevertheless, his message to other men and young boys is, “A diagnosis is not a death sentence. Keep a positive mindset and visualise success. Try not to ask the question, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ Rather ask the question, ‘What is this experience trying to teach me?’ Early detection can save lives so don’t be intimidated to seek professional medical advice. The doctors are just that. They are professional and there’s no need to be embarrassed. Put your ego aside. Also, ensure you have adequate medical aid and critical illness insurance cover.”
MEET OUR EDITOR – Laurelle Williams
Laurelle is the Editor at Word for Word Media and graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She have a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Write me: [email protected]