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…

Nov 27, 2019 Word for Word Media
Lance Bainbridge tells us about the gifts that stomach cancer gave him and how he rediscovered his passion for surfing and playing guitar after he beat it. Lance Bainbridge (51) lives in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal with his wife, Jane, and their four children, Luke (20), Peter and Philip (17), and Rebecca (10). Not many people will associate cancer as a giving disease, yet Lance feels that his cancer has given him many gifts. He says, “My faith in God has always been a big part of my life since I first became a Christian as a teenager. However, when I…

Sep 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
Sixteen-year-old Cameron Martin shares how his family and friends have helped him adjust since he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Cameron Martin (16) lives in Weltevredenpark, Gauteng with his parents, Roger and Samantha, and his younger sister, Caitlyn.  When meeting the polite teenager, one would never think he has just undergone major surgery and cancer treatment. His relaxed and level-headed attitude is supreme.  Diagnosis in 2018 Being an avid sportsman, playing cricket, hockey and at times athletics, Cameron automatically assumed his sore knee (right) was a sports injury. He went for physiotherapy but the ‘injury’ kept on recurring.  With Cameron’s…

Sep 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
We catch up with lung cancer patient, Mahendra Modi (79), who was on our Nov/Dec cover, in 2016, and hear how well he is doing on osimertinib (Tagrisso), an oral medication. Mahendra Modi (79) lives in Mulbarton, Gauteng with his wife. He has three children and seven grandchildren. Background Mahendra was diagnosed, in 2014, with Stage 4 lung cancer associated with an EGFR mutation. This type of lung cancer is not related to cigarette smoking but is driven by a mutation (changing of the structure of a gene), called an EGRF mutation.  Due to the stage of Mahendra’s cancer, surgery was not an…

Jul 29, 2019 Word for Word Media
Pragashnee Pillay shares how getting a dog for her daughter, Diya, helped both her and her daughter cope with her cancer diagnoses and treatments. Pragashnee Pillay (35) lives in Tongaat, Kwa-Zulu Natal with her husband, Terence, and their five-year-old daughter, Diya, and their pet Jack Russell, Stitch. Thyroid cancer A month before Pragashnee was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, in April 2017, her daughter, Diya, asked for a baby brother. Unfortunately, that was not on the cards as Pragashnee hadn’t been feeling well for some time.  “I told her that I am currently unwell and will not be able to…

Jul 29, 2019 Word for Word Media
Mother of twin boys, Anja Berkowitz, shares how her battle with cervical cancer while pregnant ultimately birthed her new business, Amara Grace. Anja Berkowitz (35) lives in Fourways, Gauteng with her husband, Jordan, and their twin sons, David and Noah (3). Cervical cancer and choices In September 2015, about a year and a half into fertility treatment, Anja fell pregnant. Jordan and Anja were thrilled to be expecting twin boys. Their life-long dream was becoming a reality. Three months into the pregnancy, Anja experienced complications, including bleeding. After changing doctors in January 2016, the expectant mother was told she had cervical…

May 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
When faced with an ovarian cancer diagnosis three months before your wedding, at the age of 25, what do you do? Sarah Smit bravely chose to go ahead with the wedding plans. Sarah Smit (28) lives in Centurion, Gauteng with her husband, Pieter. Sarah and Pieter met on New Year’s Eve in 2008. They started dating and in July 2015, Pieter proposed. Sarah said yes and their wedding was set for 1st October 2016. Flu-like symptoms In May 2016, Sarah went to a doctor. “I had flu-like symptoms since the beginning of the year. I would get better, then a few…

Mar 20, 2019 Word for Word Media
Hollard DareDevil Run ambassador, Judd Van Den Bergh, shares his testi-monial of being diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 23. Judd Van Den Bergh (27) lives in Benoni, Gauteng. Young and indestructible Judd never worried about his health and fitness. As a result, he was overweight and never thought too much about it. In his mind, he was young and indestructible. But in April 2015, his indestructibility crumbled.  He felt a lump in his testicle while doing a self-examination in the shower. This was thanks to a good GP emphasising the importance of testicle self-examinations to Judd.  “When I first found the lump, I was…