The sweet sound of victory filled the Goodhope Oncology practice at Netcare Blauuwberg on Friday March 16 as Andrew Moore rang a bell signalling the end of his cancer treatment and the start of a new life.
Andrew, a Grade 11 pupil at CBC St John’s in Parklands, was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or in the soft tissue.
When he was too ill to attend school last year, his peers decided to run a cancer campaign to show their support (“CBC cares beyond the classroom,” Tabletalk, May 24, 2017).
Andrew endured a year of chemotherapy and 25 sessions of proton radiation.
But on Friday he put all of that behind him when he rang the #ring4cancerbell.
Ringing the bell at the end of a patient’s last day of treatment was started by advocacy organisation Campaigning for Cancer.
The organisation’s Melanie Teixeira said they wanted to have a bell in all treatment facilities across the country.
The bell at Goodhope Oncology was sponsored by Andrew’s family and is the second in the province. The first was at Solway House in Bellville.
“Having bells in patients’ treatment facilities is a constant reminder of how close they are to the finish line, restoring determination that they may naturally lose along the way, as cancer is gruelling, long and hard,” said Ms Teixeira.
“It is a journey that not only affects the patient but also their family, friends and health-care providers.”
Now that treatment is over, Andrew will need time to recover and build up his stamina. Having missed a year of school means he will have to repeat Grade 11.
Andrew’s mother, Suzan Moore, says she is proud of her son for showing strength through trying times and dealing with each day “as new day with purpose and meaning”.
“It’s hard for him to see his friends whom he has been with since Grade 2 moving onto matric, with him having to restart Grade 11. We know that it is not going to be an easy task, but with his determination he will succeed,” said Ms Moore.
She said Andrew had had an amazing support circle made up of doctors and staff at Goodhope Oncology and Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital.
CBC St Johns Parklands High School principal Marisa Fox said a hero was an ordinary individual who found strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
“Andrew is the hero of our CBC family,” said Ms Fox.
“Andrew has been assigned this mountain to show others and me that it can be moved,” said Ms Moore.
Once a patient has rung the bell four times, they can upload a photo or video to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, using the hashtag #ring4cancer and tagging @campaign4cancer.