My name is Nicky, and I am married to Gary. We have 4 amazing children, a son and 3 daughters, aged 14, 11, 10 & 4 years.
We are a close and very loving family who have always enjoyed getting out there, camping and having fun together.
Back in September 2017, I was teaching at a nursery school and Gary worked in property maintenance.
Gary went to have a growth on his back checked out at The Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, Gauteng. Over the next few weeks came the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with 3 different cancers: Melanomas (Skin cancer), Adenocarcinoma (Rectal tumour) and Hodkins Lymphoma (Blood cancer).
Having to sit down with our children and explain this life changing news to them was an unimaginably difficult and emotional experience for us all.
This was the beginning of a journey that would drastically alter our families reality and that of those close to us.
In the 21 months since being diagnosed, Gary has had to undergo frequent and numerous check ups, procedures, operations and treatments, namely;
- Operation to remove 2 melanomas on his back and arm
- Various biopsies
- Permanent colostomy operation
- Intestinal obstruction
- 7 months of fortnightly chemotherapy sessions
- Stem cell harvesting
- A 4 day intensive chemotherapy treatment (lasting approximately 18 hours per day) in both arms
- Stem cell transplant
All of this has resulted in Gary being unable to work for this entire period and quite possibly for the remainder of this year (2019).
This meant that suddenly we were entirely dependent on my income and as a nursery school teacher earning R5000pm, this left us way short of our monthly needs.
We have been so fortunate to have had assistance from close family and friends and many others who do not even know us.
This has now unfortunately created financial strain for some members of our extended family who have, up until now, been able to help us.
During the course of 2018 I arranged a couple of fundraisers at a local venue but the venue has recently closed down.
I had to leave my full time teaching position at the end of 2018 and I started a small afternoon Homework and Revision Centre for primary school children. I did this in order to be able to take care of all the everyday logistical needs of our children and our home. I have also been baking and selling biscuits on order and I have just put together the first in a series of recipe books which we hope to sell in an effort to raise funds.
I am hoping to grow the Homework and Revision Centre, but that is going to take time as well as investment.
Our priority right now is to hopefully be able to raise funds to cover our family’s day to day and monthly living expenses, which add up to approximately R20 000pm for the next 6 months (whilst Gary is unable to work). This would help alleviate some of the stress from our childrens, and our, lives.
The worst part of this as parents has been to see the effect that this has had and continues to have on each of our children.
For me, as a mother, I never imagined my children asking me, “Is daddy going to die?”, and my then 3 year old daughter asking, “Is my daddy going to come home?”.
As I mentioned at the beginning, we are a close and loving family and hugely supportive of one another. This gives us the strength to continue our personal fight against this horrible disease.
We would greatly appreciate ANY assistance you may be able to offer.
We wish you all good health and lots of love.