Where are they now?
We catch up with four of our Cancer Warriors to see where they are now after overcoming cancer.
Lawrence Brittain (31) lives in Johannesburg, Gauteng with his wife.
Lawrence was the first Cancer Warrior to be featured on the cover of Oncology Buddies. Since winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics after having Hodgkin lymphoma, he continued his rowing career, picking up great results at local and international level by representing SA every year.
The 31-year-old has taken an extended break from professional sport and is trying his hand in business.
“I have a carpentry workshop, Simply Divine Carpentry, where we make all sorts of household furniture and cabinetry. I love this new challenge and it has been such an exciting adventure.”
Looking back at his cancer journey, he says, “It does sometimes feel like a bad dream and so far away but it will always be there and be a part of me. It definitely affected who I’m today. I don’t look back at it in a negative way but I think about how I made it through and how such a big challenge made me stronger.”
Lofentse Buthelezi (12) lives with his parents and younger sister in the south of Johannesburg, Gauteng.
Young Lofentse was on the cover of Oncology Buddies in 2018 when he was diagnosed with nephroblastoma. Since then his doctors have been extremely happy with his progress. He currently goes for a check-up once a year.
The 12-year-old is in Grade 5 and excels in Maths and loves Social and Natural Science. He also loves soccer and is part of a soccer club, hoping to realise his dream of playing professionally one day.
His mother, Masetshego, explains that even though he knows he had cancer, he really doesn’t like talking about it. She adds that the chemotherapy seems to have slowed down his normal developmental milestones, but she hopes this will not be long-term. All in all, he is still a young boy who loves to play.
Sarah Smit (32) lives in Pretoria, Gauteng with her husband and daughter.
In 2019, Sarah shared her story of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer three months before her wedding. Three years after finishing treatment, the young couple decided to try and conceive naturally.
Two months after removing the Mirena, Sarah fell pregnant. This was wonderful news as the couple froze embryos as a fertility back-up in case they couldn’t conceive naturally.
Zoey was born in April 2020 and Sarah is loving motherhood. Since they had their miracle baby, the couple decided to donate the embryos to science so more research can be done in the field of embryology. “If we want more children and can have great but if we can’t, we are also okay with that,” Sarah says.
Adri De Bruin (60) lives in Mulbarton, Gauteng with her husband.
Adri De Bruin was on the cover in 2018 where she shared her journey of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
This March, she celebrated her 60th birthday. “While I was going through chemo, I prayed every day that I would make it to 60,” she says.
During treatment, she never missed a parkrun and had run over 200 parkruns; that number has grown to 319. She still plays basketball and recently took part in the SA Masters Basketball Tournament.
“I’m thankful and count my blessings every day. I’ve walked a road that I don’t wish on anybody, but there are survivors who have experienced worse,” she says.