Honouring Ryan Nel – RhabdomyoSarcoma (Part 7)

cat-in-the-hat-smallSeptember 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 the final post of an edited version of the life-story of Ryan Nel, as written by his mother, Michelle.

The Little Fighters Cancer Trust would once again like to sincerely thank Michelle for sharing her family’s heart-breaking 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, as well as to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness so that earlier diagnosis can be done and more lives can be saved.

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.

The Last Day

The nights are so difficult; we ask God to watch over you. Even with the oxygen at its maximum you are not getting better. I lie awake and cry at night, muffling my sobs so that I do not wake you up… my heart breaks over and over every day, and we live in hope that a miracle will happen…

Your little body is so fragile, and only your mother can comfort you a bit. I don’t want to see what is reflected in others’ eyes, even if I know it myself – Deep down I know the outcome is unavoidable… that your life here on earth is only temporary…

It is time for your new 3 week cycle of medicine; your skin is full of sores and I am full of frustration… you sit upright and groan with pain for 24 hours straight and my heart breaks with every moan.

The doctor makes a house-call and makes you more comfortable and at last you fall into a restful sleep – her parting words “5 minutes or a week!

How many times can a heart break?

Around 2 hours later the inevitable happens… you depart this world for the safety of the Heavens Above…

You were lying between your father and I – that is how you wanted it… we all fell asleep… then your father woke me up…

With you held closely in his arms he told me we need to make peace now because Jesus and His angels  are now going to watch over you; Jesus claimed you as his chosen one – Heaven’s gain and Earth’s loss.

The smile on your face was a sign that you are no longer in pain. I tried desperately to breathe life back into you but it was not to be…

I sat with your lifeless body in my arms; I did not know what to do… we all held you in turn and your body was washed clean with our tears…

I still can’t let you go, can nobody understand that? But Jesus said enough is enough you were weary of life…

They came to fetch you at 21:00 and it was terrible to watch them cover your beautiful face with a blanket. I went to say goodbye to you for the last time the next day and even though it was difficult, it was good to see you one last time, to hold you one last time and kiss you goodbye even though your lips were cold and blue…

Sometimes I feel that I failed you – you know that if I could I would have fetched you the sun, the moon and the stars. I know you said I should not blame myself but I am still struggling to handle everything.

I will always sing your praises, until Jesus comes and fetches me one day too… I can’t wait for that day so that we can laugh together again.

This is now the end of your story, My Son… Mom will always remember the good, more good times than not; a sign of your courageous fight.

I will always love you, My Child – I know I have to find myself again. You saw enough how I suffered; you said I must carry on and stay me…

You carried your illness with pride, gave your mom and dad a final smile before you closed your beautiful blue eyes for the last time, and undertook your final journal with grace.

RIP Mommy’s Angel Child – Mommy misses you so much!



Ryan Jaco Nel
23 October 2003 – 27 January 2016


So many lives have been destroyed by cancer; life is sometimes so cruel. We do everything we can, and then our child is called to Heaven. We have to believe that it is His will and it was not all for nothing.

Believe me that this is not even half of the whole saga – there was much more hell behind the scenes and a lesson or two learned – this could happen to anyone!

From that first prick of the needle to the final dying gasp, Ryan will always be our hero in between all the heartache. We will mourn him for the rest of our lives, thankfully we will see him again one day.

And so this tale of Faith Hope and Love comes to an end… there was not just pain, there was also laughter – He won his fight, our Child; he found his feet by Jesus!

The sun will shine for us again even though the pain will never go away. Until we meet again, we say farewell to him with sad hearts.


Thank you, Lord for giving us the courage to carry on.

Thank you to everyone who supported us throughout this trial and still are there for us. Thank you for every prayer, present, food, encouraging messages, the hugs… they are what made it possible for me to share Ryan’s story.

Thank you to all Ryan’s friends who never dropped him or forgot about him made him feel so loved.

A very special thanks to Ryan’s oncologist, Dr Johani Vermeulen and his paediatrician, Dr Elmarie Mathews. Thank you to the staff at Dora Ningiza – what you did for Ryan and I was very special. You did everything possible to try to heal him and later to make him more comfortable. You were not just his medical team; you were also there to hold his hand through everything. I never realised that his time was so close, that it was necessary to make him comfortable before he left us – I am so thankful that it happened in his sleep. Thank you also for returning that afternoon to offer support – we really appreciated it and will never forget it.

I would not wish this experience on any parent!

My heart is broken, but God’s Will be Done

If sharing Ryan’s story helps even one person or one family then I have attained my goal. I know that my son taught me quite a few life’s lessons – to care more for my fellow-man and most of all to get closer to my God.



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 15 September, 2016, in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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