Share Your Story Show your support for a cancer survivor

Share Your Story

Every day we hear the most amazing stories of encouragement, bravery, hope, tears and humour. Please share your story in the ‘Comment’ box at the bottom of this page.

Upload your pics and videos to your Facebook, Twitter & Instagram accounts using #CANSAShavathon.


  • Sandy Getsos says:

    I woke on Sunday morning, 21st September 2013, and as I sat having coffee in the kitchen in my nighty, it felt as if someone stuck a pin into my right breast and I grabbed my breast in pain and when the pain subsided I had this lump in my hand. I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma stage 2 and doctors said that this type of cancer and its position should not have been felt let alone been found by me. From their experience it normally get picked up by either a mammogram or a sonar. I was told that there was most definitely divine intervention here.

    I started chemo on the 16th October 2014 and I’ve completed the “Red devil” as they call it( horrible one) and I’ve completed 4 white ones. Another 8 to go. End of April 2015 having a double mastectomy (not taking any chances). I won’t lie, it was devasting news that me the youngest of 9 children, no history of cancer in my family for 3 generations, now has cancer.

    But I have chosen to be positive every single day, I will beat this cancer. I’m thankful to my amazing husband and two wonderful children and friends and family for the great support that I have received. This is what gets me through my battle. As my late Mother would always say “we all have a cross to carry daily, some are so heavy the dragging on the ground and other times we can carry it with one finger”. My cross is heavy at the moment, but I’m not carrying it alone.

    The key to beating this disease is your support structure and positivity. Without both of these, you are in trouble. I still have a lot of my hair, and if I make it to the shavathon, I’m getting it shaved and donating my pony. (My hair was down to my waist when I was diagnosed).

    To all my fellow cancer sufferers, WE WILL BEAT THIS DISEASE!!! BE POSITIVE!!! God bless us all…

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Sandy

      Thanks for sharing your story and for wanting to motivate others to stay positive & keep on fighting the disease. You are so right about the importance of support – please find resources & info for cancer Survivors, such as yourself, here:

      Thanks also for being willing to donate your hair at Shavathon.

  • Lee says:

    To those that came out yesterday, to those that gave donations and also to those that sent love and good thoughts I would like to thank you! This amazing community alone managed to raise R20 500! WE DID IT! YOU ALL DID IT!

    Many asked why shave and why now?

    “Death is not the greatest loss in life, the greatest loss in life is what dies inside whilst still alive. Never surrender.” I read this quote last year at my mom’s memorial and it has become a kind of mantra for me.

    During this journey I decided that I would not let cancer and death make me anxious, but active. I choose to find happiness and spread love – the love that she gave me. I choose new beginnings whilst still remembering the old memories. For me this is a new beginning the 1st of March is my new years eve, my Monday morning, and the fresh start I have been looking for.

    I chose to give back, I chose to shave.

  • James Fowler says:

    When I was 11, I was diagnosed with melanoma in the lymph nodes in my neck. I went through a surgery that removed a large part of the right side of my neck, and underwent interferon treatment for my entire grade 7 year, most days left me too sick to go to school. 5 years later, I am now in matric, and in remission. My friend and I are about to shave our heads to raise cancer awareness and show that cancer is not the end of the road, it can be beaten.

  • Helene Welgemoed says:

    Hi, My Son Joshua 7yrs old was diagnosed with ALL on 2 October 2013 then contracted chicken pox 10 days into treatment. He fought like a warrior in ICU for 68 days…he is in remission and managing very well with his chemo. This is a blog I have started for him so when days are glum he can look back and see where he was. The post Road Travelled tells a brief story of those 68 days.
    Today Joshua Joined in Shavathon at Scottburgh shopping mall, calling on young and old to shave or spray or wrap their heads. He was in his element interacting with people and encouraging them to support the cause. Monday He starts with next block Treatment, this is the big guns but he is ready to take control. All he wants to do is spend time with his friends and have fun (like 7yrs should be doing.)

    • CANSA Social Media Coordinator says:

      Dear Helene, thank you so much for sharing your son’s story with us – we saw a picture on Facebook of him helping to shave a lady’s hair! He has inspired so many people around him and we want to convey our sincere thanks for his enthusiasm. We wish Joshua much strength for the next step of his journey. Please let us know if we can support in any way? ( I will share your story on our Facebook page to further inspire and motivate others like he did today! Thank you again. All the best for the coming week, Joshua and you will be in our thoughts.

  • Thabang says:

    I went to take part today as I lost a very close friend who was very close to my heart (Rudzani Ngwana) because she died of Bone Cancer. Unfortunately it was detected at a very late stage. I therefore will consistently support the awareness of Cancer.

  • Patricia Francis says:

    This is for my brother in law Chris and all those suffering from cancer and those that are in remmision!

    Where do I take this pain of mine?
    I run but it stays right by my side
    So tear me open and pour me out
    There’s things inside that scream and shout
    And the pain still hates me
    So hold me until it sleeps
    Just like the curse, just like a stray
    You feed it once and now it stays
    Now it stays
    So tear me open but beware
    There’s things inside without a care
    And the dirt still stains me
    So wash me until I’m clean
    It grips you so hold me
    It stains you so hold me
    It hates you so hold me
    It holds you so hold me
    Until it sleeps
    So tell me why you’ve chosen me
    Don’t want your grip
    Don’t want your greed
    Don’t want it
    I’ll tear me open, make you gone
    No more can you hurt anyone
    And the fear still shakes me
    So hold me until it sleeps
    It grips you so hold me
    It stains you so hold me
    It hates you so hold me
    It holds you, holds you
    Holds you until it sleeps
    Until it sleeps
    Until it sleeps
    Until it sleeps
    Until it sleeps

    These are the Lyrics by Metallica for the Songs “Until It sleeps” which is all about Cancer.
    So Powerfull!

  • Marijke Hansen says:

    I will be wrapping my hair for all the people I know who fraught cancer and survived. Family friends who had breast cancer. A family friend who lost their boy to leaukeamia and a good friend of mine lost her husband in weeks to a rare form of cancer. Finally my uncle and another friend who lost her father to it. Cancer must be stopped!

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Marijke

      Please pass on this info to any cancer survivors (those affected by cancer) that you know of – should you need support / counselling please also go to the link below. It is hard to see those you love affected by cancer:

      Please join our group for cancer survivors on Facebook (Champions of Hope) so that you can also encourage members of this group and that they can encourage you:

      If you should need support in the future, please contact your local CANSA Care Centre – see details re services provided, as well as other online support resources here:

      I am not sure how long ago your family friend lost their boy to leukaemia, but please pass on Vera van Dalen’s contact details should they need support – she lost her son to cancer at a young age, and heads up our support programme for children and families affected by cancer – email: – read more re TLC here:

  • Eiralyn Cowley says:

    My Sister was diagnosed with Luekemia, she is in Irland and we are in SA… our oldest siter was a match for her for the bone marrow transplant, the operation was a success we were told.. she is currenltly on her recovery meds and chemo.

    she will hopefully be able to go home to her family soon. its killing my mum and i that we are so far from her at this time..

    so we will be at one of the shavathons… to support my sister..

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Eiralyn

      Please pass on this info to your sister. It is hard to see those you love affected by cancer, if you need support / counselling please see link below to our Care Centre contact details:

      Please join our group for cancer survivors on Facebook (Champions of Hope) so that you can also encourage members of this group and that they can encourage you:

      If you should need support in the future, please contact your local CANSA Care Centre – see details re services provided, as well as other online support resources here:

  • Nikki White says:

    I was diagnosed with brain cancer when I was 5 years old. I had to undergo emergency ops to try and remove the tumors. During my first op, I was declared brain dead but by the grace of God, a miracle happened and I am still here today (33 years old) and still in remission. I have waist long black hair that I am going to cut off this year (a loonnggg 70cm ponytail ☺) To honour all who have lost, are still fighting and those who won the battle against cancer….

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Nikki

      Thank you for sharing your inspirational story with us and for the generous donation of your long ponytail!

  • Previna Paima says:

    I was diagnosed in 2007 with ovarian cancer which was picked up by my annual check up @ the gyne. Did the op, had chemo – now 2014 I celebrate my 7th year anniversary being in remission.

  • CANSA Content Manager says:

    Hi Marthinus

    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.

  • Chad says:

    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.

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Thank you so much Chad for your generous contribution and for helping to give cancer survivors their dignity.

  • Philene says:

    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!

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      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.

  • Marelize says:

    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.

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      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.

  • Fiona Parsons says:

    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!

  • Dominic says:

    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.

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Thanks so much Dominic, what a wonderful way to honour your Grandmother.

  • Louise Jean Greyling says:


    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.

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      Thank you Louise for honouring your grandparents and Christine by shaving your head and through your support in the past.

  • Lucy McDermid says:

    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…

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      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’): – 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.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Lucy

      Please join our group for cancer survivors on Facebook (Champions of Hope) so that you can also encourage members of this group and that they can encourage you:

      If you should need support in the future, please contact your local CANSA Care Centre – see details re services provided, as well as other online support resources here:

  • Jade Samuels says:

    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
    about her.

  • Herman says:

    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

    • CANSA Content Manager says:

      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: – 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.

      Alternately, you can contact your local CANSA Care Centre for support:

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