Aug 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Olympian and former World Surfski Champion, Oscar Chalupsky, shares his upstream battle with multiple myeloma. Oscar Chalupsky (58) and his wife, Clare, alternate living in South Africa and Portugal. They have two adult children, Luke and Hannah. Success in the sports world started early for Oscar. He started competing internationally at age 14; made the National Surf Lifesaving Team at age 15; was the first person in the world to win both Junior and Senior Ironman, aged 15; played for KwaZulu-Natal Schools’ Rugby and SA Schools’ Water polo. He became the youngest canoe Springbok, at age 18, and was…

Aug 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Thami Tshabalala, a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, tells us more about his treatment journey and his love for bikes. Thami Tshabalala (37) lives in Soweto, Gauteng.  Diagnosis In 2017, Thami had a persistent cough. “I went to the chemist and self-medicated as I don’t like going to doctors,” he explains. “However, it didn’t help so I got something else; that also didn’t help so I decided to go to the doctor.” By this time, Thami had lost weight, was itchy all over his body, had swollen glands under his armpits and was experiencing fatigue.  A chest X-ray showed that Thami had growths on his…

Aug 2, 2021 Word for Word Media
Zino Nyangule is the sweetest and most inspirational 14-year-old cancer survivor. Despite being blind, her take on life is extraordinary. Zino Nyangule (14) lives with her parents, Zuzeka and Advisor, in Far East Bank, Gauteng. She has four older siblings, two brothers and two sisters.  Germline mutation When Zino was around eight months old, her mother, Zuzeka, noticed that when she shook a toy on the left side of Zino, Zino would follow it with her eyes but when she shook it on the right side, Zino didn’t. “There was also something on her right eye; at night, it would shine…

May 28, 2021 Word for Word Media
Gaby Von Blerk openly speaks about her difficult journey of facing squamous cell carcinoma of the anus. Gaby Von Blerk (60) lives in Umhlanga Rocks, Kwa-Zulu Natal. She is divorced and has a daughter, Greta. Squamous cell carcinoma of the anus   It was thanks to the words of Gaby’s friend, Eric, who endured a long battle with cancer that prompted Gaby to see a doctor and in turn be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the anus in July 2016.  “Just before Eric passed away, he implored to me, ‘If you notice anything unusual on your body, please have it seen to….

Mar 29, 2021 Word for Word Media
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…

Feb 25, 2021 Word for Word Media
South African Hip Hop artist, Oxijin aka Rumacques Gelderbloem, tells us how his colon cancer diagnosis challenged his confidence as a 29-year-old male. Oxijin aka Rumacques Gelderbloem (35) lives in Worcester, Western Cape. As a healthy 29-year-old male that enjoyed playing rugby for a community team, Rumacques’ cancer diagnosis came as a surprise. He says, “It completely challenged my attitude towards life, at first I thought it was negative, but the journey had its own lessons.” However, it was a long progression to see the diagnosis in the upbeat manner he does now. Diagnosis In 2015, Rumacques experienced severe stomach…

Feb 8, 2021 Word for Word Media
Vibrant Lerato Monyatsi shares how she is climbing her way to victory over colon cancer. Lerato Monyatsi (39) lives in Kagiso, Krugersdorp, Gauteng with her 11-year-old son, Aobakwe. Misdiagnosis Being an extremely active, nature loving, backpacking hiker and supermom, never did Lerato, a single mother, think she would be faced with the big C.  “It was around December 2019 when I first encountered discomfort in my abdomen. I was bloated and constipated so I went to see a doctor. I was prescribed medication to flush all the waste out and the doctor concluded that I had haemorrhoids and medicated as such,” she says. …

Nov 30, 2020 Word for Word Media
Metastatic lung cancer patient, Liezl Nell, shares how baking during lockdown transformed into an online bakery that in turn raised funds to cover some of the co-payments of her treatment. Liezl Nell (31) lives in Randburg, Gauteng with her two older sisters, Louw-Mari and Bernadette. An active life was what Liezl lived. She played several club sports, like tennis and hockey, and was at the gym at least once a day. So, when she experienced pain above her left rib and shoulder, in Oct 2019, she thought it was a muscle that she had pulled.  Two weeks went by…

Sep 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Warrior Josh Twelve operations, over 100 days in hospital, 14 months of chemotherapy and 60 days of radiation, Warrior Josh comes out stronger and braver as ever. Joshua Sole (11) lives in Randpark Ridge, Gauteng with his parents, Mike and Lara, and his older sister, Courtney (13). Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma  It was Lara’s intuition and maternal instinct that noticed something was wrong with Josh. “He had played two hours of rugby and that night I noticed he went to the bathroom three times. This wasn’t normal for him. I took him to the homeopath the next day, thinking it could be…

Jul 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
We hear how Belinda Wagner, a life coach, facilitator, lecturer and marketing consultant, ensured her diagnosis of angiosarcoma would not take control of her life. Belinda Wagner (48) lives in Fourways, Gauteng. She is married with two daughters, aged 18 and 14. Diagnosis It took six months for doctors to diagnose Belinda with angiosarcoma. It started in July 2016 when Belinda got bronchitis. In August, she started coughing up blood, had an overall feeling of not being well, and had abdominal pain.  Medication was prescribed for her chest and coughing which was followed by an array of tests, until a CT scan, in November, showed…

Jun 1, 2020 Word for Word Media
From being a successful group HR administrator to now working as a donor recruiter and education specialist at The Sunflower Fund, Xolani Hlongwane tells us how his life changed after surviving Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Xolani Hlongwane (36) lives in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal with his partner of two years. Growing up in the township of Lamontville, Xolani is the eldest of four children. He became the first person in his family to attend university; an achievement his parents are extremely proud of.  Xolani paid for his education by waiting on tables and completed it by sheer determination, not only to make a success of himself but…

Mar 20, 2020 Word for Word Media
Andrew Hunter tells us about life after a laryngectomy: how he learnt to communicate with a tracheoesophageal voice prosthesis and recently via oesophageal speech. Andrew Hunter (59) lives in Soweto, Gauteng. He is divorced and has two adult children. Diagnosis In 2012, Andrew who had been smoking for over 20 years and drank occasionally on weekends, started to develop flu-like symptoms. His voice became croaky and deterioratedand his throat was dry and painful. He went to see a doctor who referred him to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. After numerous tests, including a biopsy, Andrew was diagnosed with cancer of the…