Beating Cancer At Age 18


Cancer is a terrifying reality. It makes no difference if you are young or old, how you look like, where you live or what you have achieved in life; today you feel on top of the world, tomorrow you could find out you have Cancer. In his final year of school, young Owen van Wyk was faced with this reality and this is his story of how he beat Cancer;


‘My baby brother beat Cancer’

Owen van Wyk has always been a sweet, honest person.Everyone that knows him, loves him. All that met him, fell in love with his person, his essence, his ways, his existence.

January 2013 he started his final year of school. On 24 September 2013 he woke up with a fever and sore swollen throat.My mom took him to the doctor, where they we told by the doctor that Owen has a throat infection.He went to school, as normal, still not feeling healthy.According to him, he was leaning on his elbow with the palm of his hand resting between his jaw and collarbone, when he felt the gland in his neck.It was so big, so swollen that he immediately felt scared and anxious.On visiting a different GP, he advised further tests. They did the tests. The GP ordered Owen to have a biopsy, at that time we all started to stress, in our minds a “biopsy” means serious illness.

After all necessary tests, they were called into the doctor’s office, not knowing that the specialist they saw was in fact an oncologist. It was during this session that the doctor confirmed that it was throat cancer, (Nasopharyngeal).

As this was announced, we were at home waiting for Owen and our parents to return.As they walked in, I could immediately see that it was bad news. The worst news. We all sat down and cried, and it felt like the end of the world for all of us.However, he told me he accepts the challenge. Hearing those words come out the mouth of my baby brother, made me proud and I knew in my heart that my brother would beat Cancer.

Owen started his final exams. The facts were clear, my 18 year old brother has Cancer. It was a tough time for him trying to concentrate on his studies while knowing he is sick.He explains that he felt he was going to die. We all feared losing Owen. A baby brother. A child and an uncle and godfather to our children.

The day after completing his final paper, Owen started his chemotherapy. His oncologist decided on curing Owen, rather than treat the cancer into remission. Due to Owen being young and extremely healthy otherwise, his oncologist had prescribed him 2 types of chemotherapy and a 30day radiation schedule. Our mother spent every single day by his side, in and out of hospital, taking care of him. Due to his immune system being weak, we were not allowed to see him nearly as often as we would’ve liked.When we did see him, I didn’t recognize my brother. Physically, he changed so much it was heartbreaking.

Through all of this, he never lost his positive outlook on life and he bravely completed his treatment. He was cured 6 months after starting treatment. Owen now studies Civil engineering. He is currently busy with his second year.He has now been clear for more than 2 years.

Written by Tamryn van Wyk

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2 responses to “Beating Cancer At Age 18”

  1. Geraint Avatar

    He sounds like a true fighter

    1. Trish Avatar

      HI Geraint
      What an inspiration

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