Chad-Lee Valentine, 22, lost his bravely fought battle with a rare form of testicular cancer on Friday February 26 at Groote Schuur Hospital.
Plainsman readers met the Woodlands resident in 2011 when he was just 17 and still a pupil at Princeton High School (“Brave Chad-Lee stares cancer in the face,” July 13, 2011).
His mother told us how she had first noticed a change in his appetite and behaviour, how he was at some point diagnosed as having TB and how eventually, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Chad-Lee had to undergo emergency surgery where his left testicle was removed. Ms Valentine said by that time the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver, chest and neck.
He had to endure 10 cycles of chemotherapy and three major surgeries, but still managed to accomplish his dream of flying in an airplane and experiencing a day in the a life of a policeman.
His mother described him as a strong, brave and loving child.
“He may have lived for 22 years, but to him it was a blessing, and he lived his life to the fullest.
“His dream goal was to become a policeman or a soccer player and he was determined to make it a reality.
“Due to his health, his dream was made possible by the Reach For A Dream Foundation, and we are grateful for the support,” said Ms Valentine.
Chad-Lee attended Northwood Primary School, but was unable to complete his schooling while at Princeton High in Grade 10.
“He kept telling us he was fine and returned for two days. Chad-Lee was a brave boy and his optimism was amazing. I would like to thank Princeton High and principal Mr Isaacs, secretary Mrs Abrahams, the Groote Schuur Hospital Le34 oncology and the nursing staff and doctors of Cancer ward G8 clinic for their support,” she said.
Ms Valentine added: “We will miss hearing his favourite line ‘There it are!’ which Chad-Lee would say if he agrees with something or if it is the correct item,” she said.
Grandmother Magdalene Williams said even through his pain he never once complained about his condition. He was such a positive soul and inspired us, those close to him.
Wiping her tears, she said: “Hy was ouma se kind. We will miss his presence.”
She said between December and February he became less active and spent most of the special days in hospital. These included his birthday, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s and even Valentine’s Day.
“Throughout the years, and during the last few months, he was humble, and * really admire that. He is my eldest grandson, and I will miss his company especially playing cards with him,” she said.
Chad-Lee’s aunt, Hilary Herman, said he had a been a chirpy youngster with wonderful personality. She said he had loved attending church and playing soccer. Ms Herman recalled a memorable moment.
“I remember one day in church, when he was still a child, the drummer was absent. They then looked for someone to play the drums. He stood-up confidently and started playing. Bearing in mind he had never played. He was completely off tune, but they allowed him to continue. The following week, he went to training and then he became a drummer – such a daring child,” she said.
Chad-Lee’s younger brother, Deago Valentine, 18, said his brother loved soccer and music.
“His favourite soccer team is Manchester United and player Memphis Depay. If he saw a ball he would want to kick it, even when he was sick. He asked a family member one day during a visit: ‘Why didn’t you bring a ball with?’ All he wanted to do was touch it.
“He loved RnB and rap. His favourite artist was Eminem. My brother was really cool, and we were really close. I will miss our intense conversations. I love my boeta,” he said.