After 3 years in remission my cancer returned. This is my poem about cancer which I call, The Darkness:
So Darkness my old foe
I really thought you’d let me go
As poison in my veins
Three years later still remains
A battle I thought I’d won
Has now become undone
My world goes spinning ‘round
Cancer once again was found
Fear I desperately disguise
Reflecting in my loved-ones eyes
I know that I am not alone
But it chills me to the bone
The thought of leaving them behind
The Darkness is seldom kind
Fools are we for not to know
How rapidly the numbers grow
They say it’s one in four
There should be no more
Donations give us peace of mind
But will researchers ever find
A way to stop this growing disease
Before the next one rests in peace
All that we can do is pray
For some kind of cure one day
As I’m Preparing for the fight
I know that God will hold me tight Herman Leach 9/01/2013
Dear Herman I am sorry to hear that the cancer has returned. Thank you for sharing your moving poem which I am sure so many cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the word “I have cancer”) and their loved ones can relate to. Please join our Facebook Page for cancer suriviors: http://www.facebook.com/groups/ChampionsofHope/ – it is good to have support at a time like this and members of this group have either recovered from cancer or have it now – the group is very active and supportive of fellow members.
I found out that my Bio-logical mother has cancer.
We do not have the best relationship- so by me shaving my head,
I hope this gets the message across to her about how much I actually do care
Hi, I was diagnosed with Melanoma on my right forearm in Feb 2012 which was removed sucessfully and I was given the all clear in June 2012. Three months later I began feeling unwell and after a battery of scans, medication, visits to my GP and eventually two biopsy’s I was diagnosed with Malignent Melanoma Mestates in my liver. I commenced Chemotheraphy in January 2013. This has been a complete shock and some days I still wake up and and forget that I have this disease… until I look at the scar which is a daily reminder that this dark killer is lurking in my body waiting to take my life if given half a chance. The prognosis is no cure and a maximum of 5 years life, I am not yet 50 yrs old and refuse to believe that my life will be cut short – so thank you to everyone who has, will and continues to support CANSA! And please pray that a cure is found soon, very very soon. Everyone of us that sit daily for the hours while the chemo drips slowly into our veins pray that this miracle will take place now…
Hi, I lost my mum, granny and grandfather to cancer. I have long beautiful hair and i have never really appreciated it. So this year I decided to donate my long tresses and then shave my hair. I want to feel what its like not to have hair
When I was twelve years old my grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At the time I didn’t really know or understand what ‘cancer’ would mean to my family or myself. Back then it only meant that ‘gran’ was sick. A year later my grandfather was diagnosed with stomach cancer – exactly a year after that (to the day almost) he passed away from the disease the Sunday before Christmas.
As I entered high school, I became aware that one of my fellow school friends’ sister was struggling with leukemia at the age of just thirteen. Together, we both dealt with the reality of living with a family member who had to constantly go for chemotherapy, loose their hair and become violently ill. Christine passed away at the age of nineteen, having passed her matric examination with seven distinctions and still planning her future (she was planning on studing theology at PUK). In my third year at university (aged 23), after having lived with cancer for six years and being ‘clean’ for five years my grandmother’s body finally gave in. She was 87. And she was my heroine.
This year, aged 25 (and still slightly proud of my hair – even though most days it is just a love-hate relationship) I am going to shave off my hair for these three people. Since the age of 12 I have made a yearly donation but I think this is a good year to make my support a little more visible.
Thank you, CANSA for all your help and support! And just for what you do on a daily basis.
Nearly 8 Years since my Grandmother died from leukemia….
My cansa shavathon story begins +10 years ago when my Grandmother was diagnosed with leukemia and then Cansa shavathon was just a fun thing to do but when I heard she had a form of cancer it gave a purpose to shaving my head. So once a year and for the next 8 years I grew and shaved my head only at the shavathons, this coming shavathon I’ve gone a bit further I’ve grown my hair for 2 Whole years to where my hair is past my shoulders. On the 2nd of March I shall be shaving it all off and donating my hair.
My name is Fiona. In 2004 I was diagnosed with Breast cancer. After walking down the chemotherapy road, I lost 24 kilos, a lot (a real lot!) of hair, but was fortunate enough to have superb doctors who performed a breast reduction rather than a mastectomy! In 2005, the cancer returned which resulted in a lot more chemo, a lot more weight loss, still no hair and this time we added on radiation as well. How lucky am 1? Woo Hoo.
Once again, superb doctors saved my breast by doing a lumpectomy and my life continued, my hair grew back (unfortunately so did the weight) and I went on to live a happy life. My husband and I left South Africa and moved to Kariba in Zimbabwe and started building a new stress free life.Last year in August the bastard came back for a third time! We have moved to Ballito in KwaZulu Natal although I remain under the care of Dr Carol Benn of Breast Care Centre in Milpark, Johannesburg. I had a double mastectomy on 22 October with a partial reconstruction. On the 13 March I will undergo the placement of an expander so by my husband’s 50th birthday I should have new boobs!! All I can say to anyone out there in the same or similar position – maintain your sense of humour – treat cancer like a inconvenience rather than a disease, that way you will win! Good luck to you all, with the love and support of my husband and my daughter, we will beat this .. again, and if necessary .. again!
Thank you Lucy for sharing your story with us – it feels good to fight back and Shavathon gives us the opportunity to do so. Please join our Champions of Hope Facebook group for cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’): http://www.facebook.com/groups/ChampionsofHope/ – the group consists of people who have had cancer in the past or do have cancer currently – the members are extremely supportive of each other and we need new members who will encourage them also.
This is a wonderful gesture of love & support Jade. Take a minute to explain to your mom why you are doing this and that it is in honour of her. Tell her how you feel about her. I am sure it will mean the world to her to hear what you have to say.
My daughter was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in July 2011. Ashe was only 10 years then. It also spread to her lungs. Her left leg above the knee was amputated and tumours were also removed from her lung. When I asked her if I could shave my hair, she told me no mommy, because someone must have her if she was bald. The hair story was a vey big issue for her, because she had the most beautiful blonde hair. Nobody could see her bald, not even me. I tried my luck many times, especially when she was in the bath – then I took the bandanna off and kissed that beautiful bald head and put the bandanna back again. Then in Jan 2012 we had to go to Cape Town for a bone marrow transplant. There they told us the tumour in her lung had grown so big, there was nothing more they could do for her. I asked again if can I please shave my hair and her answer was no again. She lost the battle May 2012. I’ve joined as volunteer with CANSA and 2 weeks ago was my 1st Relay. Now tomorrow I will spray my hair purple (she loved purple) just for her. I miss her every day. But I know she was and will always be my little angel.
Dear Marelize – I am so sad to hear about Ashe – there are no words to bring comfort when a child passes away. But I know she would be proud of you, her mommy, who never gave up and is supporting others who are fighting cancer now and that she would love your purple hair, in her honour.
I lost my granny to ovarian cancer last year, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer on the 16th of September and was buried exactly a month later! It was very difficult to watch my very strong and usually healthy granny become so feeble. What hurt the most is that not I or anyone could do anything to stop this horrible disease,we had to just watch her die.
Today I donated around 40cm of my hair to Cansa and just knowing that my hair will be used to make a wig for someone affected by cancer just blows me away and makes every centimetre of hair that was cut off worth it. I pray that someday there will be a cure that will end this dreaded disease!
Philene, thank you for honouring your granny by donating your hair to help someone else battling cancer – it is a lovely gesture on your part. It is frustrating not being able to do anything but watch – however, you are doing something now – you are fighting back and encouraging a cancer survivor at the same time by your generous donation.
I started growing my hair for patients suffering from cancer, in Dec 2010. I now just cut off my hair 02 March 2013, on Thursday 28 Feb 2013 I found out that it costs R2000.00 to make each wig once the hair (minimum of 200mm) had been donated, I then rushed all my friends and family to make any donation possible, as I wanted to help those in need, not to help them and make them pay the outstanding costs.
By Saturday March 02nd at 08:00am, we managed to raise an outstanding amount of R4496.00, and during the 3 years and few months I managed to grow a pony tail length of +360mm which now has started its process to be turned into a wig.
Even though my hair only grows a minimum of 1mm a day + all the hair and extra time I had lost during my twice a month trims. Even though at times I thought of giving up, I just thought of the people praying for one more glance of their bodies with a head of hair before their time was up, or those that needed the strength to carry on… It was worth every second and penny at the end.
I did not loose during this day, I gained much more. I learned more patience, I gave a smile and for my selfless act, I gave some life to someone who needed strength. Even though I had lost my “identity” to how people visualized me, I kept my identity on how they saw me, and how I see myself. A man who sticks to his word, and one that will give all that he has even his time. I would encourage anyone to give where they can if you feel it in your heart, if its time, something small to eat, even the 50c in your pocket may help someone in prayer.
I would like to thank everyone who was able to help in any which way possible. Even if it was a lift to the hair dresser, motivation not to cut my hair, or even the R10.00 you had in your pocket for the wig. Every bit made the difference in the end goal that we achieved.
Thanks to the following people/companies that helped raise money, in such a short time:
Chad Alexander (CAPD Pty Ltd), Active Brand, Hans Snheider (HSI), Frank and Ray, Bronwyn Pletsche, Brett and Tarryn Bredenkamp, Bruce, Gia Costella, Rae-dene Jagwa, Riette Combrink, Tanya Liebenberg, Trish Mckenzie, Chieann Fyfer, Dorothy and Vincent Risi, Nicole Cramer, Cheque Risi, Mike Scarth Wall, Anonymous 1, Mike Fowler, Chris Beukes, Sean Squier, Kirsten and Steve, Giovanni Spirito, Jay, Steve, Gary, Anonymous “Port Alfred” Bridgette, Lesley Alexander.
I have lost my brother in law to Cancer, I have recently lost my sister in law to Cancer. She was the grandmother of miss South Africa, miss Bam. I would like to drive a tractor from Pretoria to Cape Town and back to raise money for cancer. What must I do get a tractor from some one to raise money for Cancer. My telephone number 0794171509
I am sad to hear about your brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Thank you for wanting to raise funds to support the fight against cancer. I have referred your comment to Lucy Balona, CANSA’s Head of Marketing & Communication – she will either refer your request to the appropriate person within CANSA, or make contact with you directly.