Cancer survivors honoured

Team Mitz Warriors at the annual Cansa Relay for Life event at Westridge High School on Saturday March 20.

Cansa Relay for Life Mitchell’s Plain held its 15th annual cancer event honouring those who have succumbed to cancer and those who have survived it.

On Saturday March 20, 130 community residents, teachers and organisations gathered at Westridge High School from 6pm to 9pm. The Cansa Relay for Life is a community-driven project remembering those who have been diagnosed with cancer and those lost through cancer.

Cansa Relay for Life Mitchell’s Plain committee from left are Fadia Van Oudtshoorn, Zelda Walker, Wayne Thompson, Rashieda Cerff, Saadiqa Abrahams.

“Cancer does not sleep (and) at the event we sacrifice one night without sleep to honour our loved ones,” said chairperson Saadiqa Abrahams.

Due to Covid-19 they had a mini virtual Cansa Relay for Life walk so the spirit of celebrating did not die out. They hope that they will be back on track in 2022 with their honourable cancer survivors, friends and family, she said.

Moegamat Owais Otto had his right foot amputated after he was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a cancer that is commonly found in the adrenal glands. He has a prosthetic leg. He attended the event with his family on Saturday March 20.

Among the cancer survivors was four-year-old Moegamat Owais Otto who was born with only one fibula (calf bone) and had to have his right foot amputated when he was just one-year-old. He has had a prosthetic leg for the past three years.

At four months old, after many tests and hospital visits he was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a cancer that is commonly found in the adrenal glands, which are situated on top of his kidneys. It expanded his liver to 11cm, said his father Nazeem Otto.

Immediately after his diagnosis, he started treatment which included chemotherapy, lots of tests, biopsies and the surgery to remove the tumor.

“It was a long and heartbreaking process with all the treatments but he is a brave and strong boy and with the mercy of our creator, he is currently in remission and has reached his two and a half year mark of being cancer-free. He is growing beautifully, full of energy and is a normal naughty, energetic and busy four-year-old boy,” he said.

Beacon Hill High School teachers and pupils represented their school and wore black in honour of cancer survivors and those who have fallen from the illness.

Head boy at Beacon Hill High School, deputy speaker of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament and chairperson of the Representative Council of Learners in the Western Cape, Alessio Marcus said his experience at the Cansa Relay for Life event had been “absolutely exceptional”.

“I lost my grandfather to cancer (so) this event was very near to my heart. There were moments when we cried, remembering those we lost, but on the flip side, we had fun celebrating the survivors and doing the most amazing fitness exercises for our health. The event was fun-filled,” he said.

For more information contact Ms Abrahams on 061 494 1413 or email on Saadiqaabrahams04@gmail.com.