Strawberry Lips scoured the country for 14 women who have been touched by cancer or affected by the disease themselves to share their stories. One of the biggest takeaways from the campaign however came from the moms.
We asked some of these amazing women to share their tips on how to parent while also battling this disease.
Lindi Jacobs – you need to find a new balance
At the age of 40, Lindi was diagnosed with breast cancer. It came as a huge shock and forced the mother of two teenage daughters to find a new normal. “It won’t be easy but moms always find a way, we’re so resilient,” she says looking back. “When I received treatment, the days were difficult, but when my kids came home from school, I would put on a smile and it would help, but it wasn’t easy.”
Chantelle van Dyk – talk openly
For the mom of two, Chantelle van Dyk says that through her journey she’s become a stronger person and a little tougher. Diagnosed at the age of 27, Chantelle says that it was important for her that her two young children understood what was happening. “When I was sick after treatment, my husband would want to take my children away from me, but I told them that we shouldn’t hide away the bad times from them.” Instead, she wanted them to see that she wasn’t feeling well and not that she didn’t want to play with them. As soon as her daughter turns 18, Chantelle says she’ll take her to get her breasts checked because she wants her daughter to understand the importance of breast health.
Charmaine Bronkhorst – let people in
Entrepreneur Charmaine Bronkhorst says that she couldn’t have done it without the support of her family. The mom survived Stage 2 ductal and lobular carcinoma and says her saving grace was the amazing support system. “Dubbed ‘Charmsarmy’, my friends and family rallied around me like crazy,” she remembers. “They practically fought over who would take me to my appointments.” As someone who is fiercely independent, it was difficult to take a step back and allow people to step in, but as a mom, she knows that she couldn’t have done it without that help.
Tanya Da Silva – give it back
Tanya Da Silva Ferreira clearly remembers the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was a Monday on 27 August 2012, and when my doctor told me, it felt like the earth had stopped spinning on its axis.” The one thought she remembers clearly having was what would happen with her children? At the time, it felt like there was still so much she wanted to do, but now she had run out time. She was 36-years-old with a teenage daughter and a 4-year-old son who were relying on her. Giving up just wasn’t an option. Throughout her cancer treatment, her friends and family united around her to offer their help. But, it made her think of those who were not as privileged. Tanya created the community Breast Cancer Awareness South Africa where they support others on their journey to recovery.
To be a mother is surely one of the most difficult jobs, and that’s without the added burden of being sick. To read more about these moms’ stories, head to the #PinkDiaries page. And remember, your breast health is your responsibility, so check your breasts regularly and if you feel something, go to your doctor.
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