Mark Pilgrim – cancer survivor – shares his story of HOPE
Mark Pilgrim, radio DJ | TV presenter | MC | voice artist and cancer survivor, has long been a champion of CANSA’s Shavathon and has actively worked to spread a message of early detection and prevention of cancer to all South Africans in partnership with CANSA. Poster right: Mark in the red T-shirt at the back.
His letter below was addressed to Billy, a cancer survivor for the 2nd time round. It is a letter that should be shared with all those affected by cancer and all cancer survivors. It tells of Mark’s own journey through cancer and serves as an encouragement to all who are still fighting:
My name is Mark Pilgrim. Your family got in touch with me and told me about your fight with cancer.
I am probably more well known for being that “radio and TV guy”, but I am also known for being a cancer survivor. At the age of 18, I had stage 4 testicular cancer, which spread to my lungs and kidneys. I remember the oncologist at the time telling me that the prognosis was “uncertain” and that we would have to wait and see how I responded to chemotherapy.
I had 9 months of intense chemo sessions lasting up to 4 hours a session. There were days when I felt like giving up to be honest with you, days when I felt really low, and didn’t feel like fighting for myself. But on those days I thought about how my family would miss me if I was gone, and on those low days… I fought the cancer for them.
Looking back, I’ve come to realise that it’s okay to have a bad day when you don’t feel like fighting, because the next day you WILL have the energy to fight. It’s like being on a diet and allowing yourself a cheat day. Once you’ve had it you are mentally back on track with the diet. Allow yourself a bad day, but then remember you are fighting not just for yourself, but for those that love you as well. And the next day, you fight as hard as you can.
I fought… and won.
I look back on my life and think about all the things I could have missed out on if I didn’t mentally challenge the disease… Including the birth of my daughter Tayla-Jean who I love more than life itself. It’s about family. Nothing beats that love.
I wish you the strength to fight!