Do You Remember...
When you were no longer a small child, but not yet an adult.
You were trying to fit in, keep up at school, torn between pleasing your parents but also your peers, along with many other pressures.
Whether it was called adolescence or being a teenager, you’d likely have found those years of physical and emotional change to be tough.
And in today’s world it can be even tougher.
Then add cancer to the mix!
Mariska Schultz shares her experience with you, when at age 15 she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma . . .
“Like any teenager I wasn’t familiar with the disease. But from the fear in my parents’ eyes and their tears, I could see that it wasn’t anything good.
“The first year was the worst for me. Everything was new and uncertain, like the big ‘C’ word, chemo and radiation.
“Being labelled as ‘the girl with cancer’ was really hard. Stares and concerned comments followed me everywhere. And losing my hair was one of the hardest things ever.
“I also lost a lot of friends as I wasn’t in school for days and weeks at a time. It was a lonely year, but we were also blessed by many people who reached out to us.”
Mariska’s journey with cancer continued for four years, including being in remission for a year until the cancer came back. Stronger chemotherapy and radiation followed, as well as a bone marrow transplant. This time, as her hair loss began, Mariska had her head shaved which reduced the day-to-day trauma.
Today, Mariska is a cancer survivor and a thriving young adult. And there are other young survivors like her who’ve been accommodated and supported at our Tough Living with Cancer (TLC) facilities and Support Rooms in four provinces.
You see, each time you support CANSA, you join someone on their journey with cancer.
Knowing that they’re not alone is a priceless gift for anyone, but even more so during the
tumultuous teenage years. Thank you for helping to support them, and their families.
And if you’d like to reach out again to a young person fighting cancer, please click here to
donate now, and send your priceless gift again.
Your generosity will also help to enhance our new holistic support programme for adolescents and young adults – CANSAFREE2BME – to give them even greater support than before.