12-year old cancer survivor donates to hospice

It won’t get her down – a diagnosis of an incurable cancer. She has her family, her friends, her two horses, a spot on a winning SA netball team, and she has a beautiful heart.

The 12-year old Danielle Theart, learner at Laerskool Randhart, last week donated R25 000 to Stepping Stone Hospice, funds raised for her by the school’s Supporters Club. During a heart-warming assembly at the school on Monday 19 August, three cheques, each worth R25 000, were handed over to three learners of this school who were diagnosed with various forms of cancer.

They could choose what they wanted to do with the funds and Danielle chose Stepping Stone Hospice as the beneficiary. Her dad, Johan explains: “One of the patients currently in your In-Patient Unit used to work for me. We paid her a visit and when we left, Danielle made up her mind that her funds should go to the hospice.”

Danielle was diagnosed two years ago, at the age of 10, with a chronic form of leukaemia, a cancer that requires chemo medication daily and to be taken for the rest of her life. “Though the side effects of the medication leads to severe joint pains and mood swings, Danielle remains optimistic and loves life,” Johan says. Spending time with her horses and playing goal on the school’s netball team keeps her busy and motivated. Her family - mom Sorieta and brother JJ, and of course dad Johan, is her support structure “and yes, we are very proud of how she handles herself despite the challenges she faces.”

Deputy-headmaster at Laerskool Randhart, Francois Venter, explains that the Supporters Club at the school, made up of teachers and parents, decided to reach out to the community through fundraising. Cycling was the chosen method of raising the funds. “In 2017, we took part in the 947 Cycle Challenge and raised funds for the SPCA.

“In 2018, some of our learners were diagnosed with cancer and we decided to raise funds not only to assist needy families in our community, but also to assist these learners on their recovery journeys. Through spinnathons, cycling races and a project where the learners in the school could buy armbands stating “Ranties gee om – Ranties Care” we raised the funds”, Mr Venter explains.

“Our heartfelt thank-you goes out to Danielle and her family for reaching out to us,” says Tersia Burger, CEO at Stepping Stone Hospice. “And we have a special message to Danielle and the other two learners on their individual cancer journeys – please know that you are never alone and that you will always have, not just your families’ and your friends’ support, but also this hospice’s support,” Tersia says. “You are true warriors, and we salute you.”

Caption: Headmistress at Laerskool Randhart, Marlene Gerber, 12-year old Danielle Theart and Marketing & Fundraising Manager at Stepping Stone Hospice, Marietjie Tame.

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