Honouring Ryan Nel – RhabdomyoSarcoma (Part 1)

ryan nel 1September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and apart from our normal posts, LFCT will also be bringing you some stories and poems from our Little Fighters and their Families through the course of the month.

Today we would like to bring you Part 1 of an edited version of the life-story of Ryan Nel, as written by his mother, Michelle.

The Little Fighters Cancer Trust would like to sincerely thank Michelle for sharing her family’s heartbreaking story with us in the hope that it can help other parents who have children that are ill but are not sure what the problem is, and to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness so that earlier diagnosis can be done.

We will publish the full story entitled “Our Road with Cancer – an Ode to my Son” at a later stage when there is more time to translate it in full.

Diagnosis and Prognosis

In early May 2014, 10-year old Ryan had a lump in his throat which was diagnosed as an abscess on his tonsil, and he was given a 5-day course of antibiotics and sent home. Michelle was not happy and the swelling did not go down so back they went to the doctor a few days later – another course of antibiotics!

An appointment was then made with a specialist who could only see Ryan later that month, so the family, who were extremely worried that the lump was not subsiding, sought a second opinion – again they are told that it is an abscess on the tonsil – then the doctor drew tons of blood out of Ryan’s nose and immediately consulted another specialist by phone and told them to phone him the next day for an appointment only to be told “sorry he is not on duty.”

13th of May and eventually the day Ryan gets to see the specialist who says it is no abscess but a Tumour, and Ryan is operated on the same day. The tumour was the size of a golf ball, and Ryan’s adenoids and tonsils were removed during the same operation – now they know this is not something small… Ryan is given a sinus-rinse and grommets in both ears and moved to ICU.

On the 19th of May life resumed with the family returning to work and school and Ryan started recuperating well. In the meantime the tumour had been sent away for analysis and although family life went on, stress levels were very high.



rhabdomyosarcoma2On the 22nd May, the family received the devastating news that it was Cancer, and their lives were turned upside down. Ryan was sent for x-rays and an MRI scan.

On the 25th May, Ryan went to the Dora Nginza state hospital, where he was diagnosed with Grade 4 Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma.



Without treatment Ryan basically had 3 weeks left to live; no guarantees that treatment would work but he would receive the best care there was… now they understand the months of migraines and hallucinations that nobody could account for…


How do you tell a 10-year old whose life has just begun that he has Cancer?




About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 5 September, 2016, in Blog, Onco Parents and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Rosemarie Slomp ( Grandmother)

    My 15 year old granddaughter was diagnosed 3 months ago with ewingsarcoma and will be going for her second bout of chemo at Groote Schuur Hospital in 3 days time. We are very positive of the outcome as we firmly believe she will be healed. Hair is starting to fall out now and that was a bit difficult to accept for her as her waist length glorious hair was her pride, but her circle of friends all cut off their hair and donated it to CANSA. Now when she returns I know she will be weak and miserable, but like after the first time we will just feed and love her up and she will enjoy visits from loved ones again at home. She has a wonderful support group so we thank our Lord for holding her in his arms during the bad times.. God Bless you our darling granddaughter Nicole. You are very much loved xxxx


    • Hi Rosemarie, sorry to hear about your granddaughter, but how wonderful to hear that she has such a great group of friends that are supporting her – that is SO important. Great that she also has such warm and caring family support.

      We will keep Nicole in our thoughts and prayers – GSH oncology department is great (I am a 20yr Survivor myself and was treated at GSH).

      Love, Light, Strength & Healing

      . . . .(,)
      . . _.-ﺜ-._
      . . |. . . . |…
      . . |. . . . |…
      . . |. . . . |…
      . . ღღ./.ღღ..
      (`*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸«•ஐ• »¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´)
      •💕 Love, Light,Strength & Healing💕 •
      (,.•*´(¸.•*´ (¸.•*´ «•ஐ•» `*•.¸)`*•.,)`*•.,


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