20 May 2017 The Festival at St. Dunstans College
A surprise for Christiaan and his mates. The festival was for the previous weekend however due to extreme weather conditions, the event was rained out and the organizers took a decision for move it to the 20 May 2017. this was by far a good call from the organizers as the weather was glorious for a music festival.
The morning of the 20th, the sun shone bright and I called Maria to see whether our Warrior was ready for his surprise. We collected Christiaan, Charleen, his girlfriend and Myburgh from Christiaan’s home and told him we were off to watch rugby. As he is a humble 17 year old, he was happy with the “rugby” and one can only guess that he was happy to be out and about with new friendly faces.
We had a stop along the way to collect the last of the guests, Daniella Snyman, who is a leukemia survivor and who knows Christiaan.
Upon reaching the destination, The Festival and St. Dunstans College, I could then let the cat out the bag, so to speak. I informed Christiaan that he and his friends, we’re being hosted in the VIP area by the event organizers Paul Smith, Mugg n Bean Farramere, Caxton & BCT. That he would get the opportunity to see the artists in person and chillax in the VIP area where snacks and drinks were laid out for all VIP’s for the duration of the event. Mugg n Bean kindly offered the group a meal and warm drinks through out the festival too.
Once we descended on the Caxton tent for a quick photo, we left the kids to their own devices and walked around the grounds to see the various food stands and areas of interest.
By the time we found a suitable spot in the Beer tent area for over 18’s only, the music was setting the tone for the night ahead. We had a special spot whereby we could watch the world go by and observe all ages just enjoying the day. As the day wore on, more and more people poured into the event.
One of our VIP guests was doing back stage concert duty at Arbor Primary so we needed to transport her to Arbor and shoot back to the Festival. Having VIP parking was certainly a great help in facilitating the ferrying this VIP guest.
My highlight of the event was witnessing Christiaan and Charleen near the front of the stage, listening to the music and clearly very much in love. When Khan Moreby came on stage, Christiaan beckoned me to join him but, this was his day, I wanted him to be consumed by his love for music and his lovely girlfriend.
Photo attached of Charleena Dan Chirstiaan near the stage and photo of Charleen and Khan.
After the event, we took Chirstiaan and his guests back home and had a lovely discussion about the day. Myburgh and Christiaan we discussing the people, the bands, the music all while Charleen fell asleep in Christiaan’s arms.
It was during this time, we got to know Christiaan better. Such a humble soul and extremely positive about his future. He refers to his past 2 years as a place that he probably would not want to repeat however, he is rather philosophical that it changed who he is today and for the better.
Although he is still having chemo, the course will be completed by October and hopefully, the results will come back positive.
I am thrilled that we were able to offer him the opportunity to be a teenager for a day amongst a sea of teenagers and adults and just blend into the crowd without standing out as a victim of cancer.
We too, learnt something about ourselves in this process of making someone else’s day. That being selfless and kind, takes very little in changing the way the incumbent views the world. Although cupcakes change a life one cupcake at a time, I can honestly say, the Angels behind the scenes are as valuable as our world resources.
Thank you for introducing me to the world of Cupcakes and all you stand for. It was awesome to see Christiaan so happy with his friends for the day.
Birthdays are super special, and in particular FIRST BIRTDAYS. Little Zandre turned one last week, and we thought that it would be awesome to surprise him and his family with a special visit. And so, the road trip to Polokwane was planned!
This was an awesome adventure for us, and to make sure we got the most out of our trip we made arrangements with the Polokwane Provincial Hospital to visit them too. Doctor’s, Social Workers and Nurses were waiting patiently for us and gave us the tour of their special ward! As we walked through the ward we could feel all the love and warmth from the staff – it takes special people to be able to be as committed as they are.
We were very excited to have little goodie bags and blankets for each warrior. It was so exciting to have each warrior choose their own blanket. To be able to see that little smile is absolutely priceless.
After a very exciting hospital visit we were off to go see little Zandre, what a beautiful, happy and content child, he absolutely loved playing with his cake. It seems that there is no better feeling than squishing cake for a one year old.
A special thanks goes to Elzarie du Toit our Cupcake Angel from Polokwane, the cake, the cupcakes and party packs were toughly enjoyed.
We were on such a high after our visit and it is such a true reality that all you need is time and love to make a difference!
On Saturday the 8th of April, Cupcake Angels were invited to the WITS South Branch of the SA Cake Decorators Guild. Eleanor and her team wanted to use their talent to do something special for our warriors and took on a challenge to decorate 120 white chocolate eggs to give to our warriors at Donald Gordon, Charloette Maxeke and Unitas.
The attention to detail, the creativity and uniqueness of each egg was definitely a labour of LOVE ❤. Dawn and Michelle were completely overwhelmed at how beautiful the eggs were and were given the mammoth task to vote on their favourites, after the judging the team sat together and wrapped each egg.
On Monday 10 April, we were very excited to go to the hospitals. The little warriors had a hard time choosing but there seemed to be a perfect match for each little warrior in the end.
We would like to extend our thanks to the Eleanor and her team we were most definitely Spreading Cupcake Blessings one little Easter Egg at a time.
2017 started with spreading some Cupcake Love … Cupcake Angels new and old celebrated
International Childhood Cancer Awareness day which was on the 15th of February.
We were proud to announce that our Early Warning Signs are now available in 21 languages.
We also launched our #DidYouKnow campaign and hope that the Early Warning Signs reached new families.
Our warriors were blessed with over 30 Parties of Hope registered around the country.
A big thank you to all our Cupcake Angels that created awareness and shared the
Early Warning Signs of Cancer …
remember EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES.
At the end of November and beginning of December our Cupcake Angels spread the love with Christmas Parties in Pretoria, Johannesburg and KZN.
On the 27th November we held the KZN party at the Flag Animal Farm. All the kids had a great day. There were horse rides and tractor rides. The children were allowed to feed and touch a variety of animals invluding wolves, bunnies, goats and pigs. Some of the children were scared when they arrived but by the end of the day is was a struggle to get them to go home!
On the 3rd of December we held a A Warrior’s Adventure for our Johannesburg and Vaal Patients at the Rietvlei Zoo Farm. Over 300 people came and enjoyed a braai, with 10 Cupcake Angel families who put together game stations for the kids to enjoy. With our adopt a Warrior Campaign we managed to get all our presents sponsored. Obviously Father Christmas came to hand out the gifts and a fun day was had by all!
And on the 4th of December a party was held at the African Farmyard in Pretoria for our local warriors there. So many Cupcake Angels worked hard to make it all happen! Animals were fed again and a delicious Spitbraai was enjoyed – South African style Christmas!
A special thank you to ALL our sponsors! Without you these days could not have been such successes! (Lucy and Carlos, SPAR South Rand, La Concorde Bakery, Pizza Del Forno, Pureau water, Celcom, The Cake Tin, Magalies Spitbraais, African Farymyard, Montana SuperSPAR)
For my last blog in the series on Childhood Cancer I asked fellow OncoMoms what they wish those around them knew. These are excerpts from their answers (some have been translated from Afrikaans)
“Just be there for the fighters and their families. Try and understand that we’re not always keen on conversation (or even company). Words are often unnecessary.”
“OncoMoms (and dads) may cry. We’re allowed to. Try not to tell us to not worry – we will always worry because something that may look small could actually be something big.”
“We deal with constant uncertainty and can’t always commit or promise. We are human and need coffee and hugs and no words need to be said. We need time out and appreciate a ready-made dinner.”
“Our hearts are breaking all the time – please be gentle.”
“Cancer isn’t picky – it doesn’t care about colour, your bank balance or your age. It treats everyone the same.”
“Being affected by childhood cancer affects your outlook on life. It is never the same as before.”
“Whether the outcome is positive or negative, it changes you and your life forever. And whether your child lives or dies, you never get over it – you’re never really OK again.”
“I wish others knew how scared I am about my child missing out on his milestones – scared about the damage that has already been done.”
“I wish people knew that for some diagnoses there is no treatment plan. The diagnosis is more like a death sentence – you’re living with your child on borrowed time.”
“Childhood cancer puts a strain on all relationships – between the mom and dad, between them and their parents, between them and their other children, between the diagnosed child and ALL other children (including siblings), between the parents and their friends.”
“I want others to know that if I sometimes don’t stop and greet you (with or without a smile), I am sorry. It means that I am thinking of my sick child, other children, dinner, husband, responsibilities… I am not being rude. Other things are more important that you – it’s how it is after diagnosis.”
“This journey is more than just chemotherapy, hair loss and nausea. It is also blood tests, transfusions, morphine, operations, IV’s, injections, antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals. It is checking temperatures relentlessly and sanitizing everything. It is countless days in hospital and time away from our other children. It’s about fear and hope and surviving the next 5 minutes. It’s about answering questions about God and life and death.”
“Children receive cortisone/high dose steroids as part of their treatment. This causes uncontrollable mood swings, rages, severe insomnia, eating everything in sight. And is played off against the side effects of some of the chemotherapy drugs which cause intense nausea and changes tastebuds so that when your child asks for pizza and you make them pizza (store bought is out because of infection) they get angry after the first bite and tell you it doesn’t taste like pizza.”
“I wish there was a handbook to prepare you for the reality of mouth sores, gut sores, outbursts, mood swings, hair loss, weight loss, weight gain, night sweats, fevers, insomnia, fear and pain that your child will experience.”
“There is no such thing as ‘all clear’ or a magic number when the cancer will be gone for good. There is always the chance of relapse. Not to mention the latent side effects that can (and do) often last into adulthood. Milestones are delayed or sometimes missed. Regression takes place where children sometimes start sucking their thumbs or wetting the bed. Some need to learn to walk again, to talk again. The side effects on the internal organs sometimes result in organ failure and transplants. There is no ‘after cancer’, only an ‘after diagnosis’.”
“Most kids need speech, occupational, psychological and physical therapy for years.”
“Not all children diagnosed with cancer die. In fact many survive.”
“Please don’t give me medical advice that you have read about somewhere. And most of all, please don’t compare my child’s case to any other – where the patient survived or died.”
“I wish others knew how resilient our children are. How hard they fight. How much they wish to be normal again.”
“I wish others knew how resilient we as parents are but that we break too. How hard we fight but that we can’t fight alone. How much we wish for normal again and how we understand the reality that nothing will ever be normal again.”
For a few more tips or how to help the families of fighters, please visit these blogs written by OncoMoms…