Thando Mandlazi

In May 2007, when Thando was just 10 months old, she was diagnosed with a muscle cancer: Rhabdomyosarcoma. Surgery was not an option so she underwent chemotherapy which after several treatments appeared to successfully shrink the tumor. A course of radiation followed which left little Thando in terrible pain. She couldn’t even tolerate wearing a nappy during this time and the long-term consequences point to damage to her ovaries and kidneys due to her lower abdomen being so badly scorched. Her mother Nandi relied heavily on her close family who displayed all the strength that she herself was unable to summon. The quintessential balance between hope and fear is one that Nandi grew to perfect and eventaully she began to lean toward hope for her daughter’s survival. Thando’s treatment lasted three years. For Nandi though, the fear of losing her daughter still hovers. Cancer made her acutely sensitive to the fragility of life. Today this beautiful soul is 10 years old and is a bright and loveable little Grade 4 and by God’s grace remains in remission.

In 2014 there were concerns about the return of her cancer when glands in her neck swelled; thankfully it was not the case.  It’s been four years since Thando stopped her cancer treatment but she continues to go for her annual check-up. Despite her fear of needles, Thando wants to be a doctor so she can help and heal other children; the scars on her thighs only serve to motivate her further. Thando hopes her story will inspire other children so that they can believe healing and a normal life are possible. This close mother and daughter hope to add value to every person who reads their story.

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