This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a Kuils River boy is celebrating his fifth year of being cancer free, and his family hope to raise awareness about the illness.
According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) more than 1000 new cases childhood cancer are registered in the country each year.
Cansa’s Anthea-Lynn Lewis says children under the age of 16 are most likely to suffer with the top-five cancers in South Africa including: leukaemia, lymphoma, brain cancer, nephroblastoma or soft-tissue sarcomas.
But Brody Raynard, of Kuils River, suffered from a rare cancer called myeloid sarcoma, which causes tissue damage and produces lumps and tumours on the body.
He turns 7 this week and celebrates five years living cancer free this month.
His mother, Lauren Raynard, recalled the dreadful day of his diagnosis in 2015.
Brody was 16-months-old when he knocked his head while playing with a balloon, leaving him with a swollen eye.
Ms Raynard began to panic as four days later the swelling worsened and turned a darker shade of blue.
In February 2015, Brody was rushed to Kuils River Netcare but was later sent to Tygerberg Hospital for further testing, where the hospital’s oncology unit later diagnosed him with stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer.
“This was the end, I thought. I started preparing a funeral for my son,” said Ms Raynard.
Brody underwent two biopsy procedures and in March 2015 he started chemotherapy.
Ms Raynard said this was a trying time for the family.
“The hard part of this journey was that Brody was unable to communicate and tell us what pain he felt at the time,” she said.
On September 4 2015, Brody was sent home cancer free.
Brody has the dream of becoming a scientist and his parents are “thankful for his second chance at life”.
Ms Raynard encourages parents to pay attention to early warning signs of any disease and familiarise themselves with the symptoms because early diagnosis can increase one’s chances of survival.
“Brody’s journey has taught me to appreciate the small things in life, such as the prayers and support from friends and family,” said Ms Raynard.
To commemorate the month, Ms Raynard and Cansa encouraged people to wear a gold or yellow ribbon.
If you would like to connect with Lauren Raynard check out her instagram account @lauren_r_couture