Father battles Stage 3 cancer

Tony Pauwels was a full-of-life biker before he was diagnosed with leukemia. Photo: Submitted.


Imagine going to a doctor and being told you have Stage 3 cancer – no symptoms, no warning.

That was a sad reality for 59-year-old Tony Pauwels, who lived for three years with cancer without his knowledge. His daughter, Roxanne Kruger from West Village, said her father was diagnosed with Stage 3 leukaemia on his birthday on 8 March. “My father was living in Cape Town at that stage. The previous day his friend, Billy Jansen, informed me that an ambulance had transported my dad to hospital. This hit me like a ton of bricks because my father hardly ever gets ill,” said an emotional Roxanne.

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“He was in hospital for two-and-a-half weeks,” she said. The 59-year-old had Stage 3 cancer when he was diagnosed with Bone Marrow Failure. He moved in with his daughter at the end of March. “At the end of April, he was diagnosed with full-blown leukaemia.

“My dad is not the first member of the family living with cancer. Two of his uncles also had the dreaded disease. He started treatment at Life Flora Clinic at the beginning of April.

Treatment consists of two injections twice weekly, blood transfusions and platelet transfusions,” said Roxanne.

She recalled her father once saying to her, “Doll, I’m not scared of anything, but this cancer I’m very scared of”.

“You cannot imagine what a family goes through until you go through it yourself. My father is the most loving and selfless person and puts others before himself. He is one of a kind – he would give everything he has to help a stranger,” she said.

Tony Pauwels, a selfless family man living with cancer. Photo: Submitted.

When the News asked her what she is most looking forward to, she said to be granted the chance of spending more time with her father.”I want one more day of fun and making new memories. My dad was a biker, so a day with adrenaline-filled activities with old friends and family, going back to the olden days and talking about these days and making one day filled with new memories is what I want to cherish most.”

Roxanne urged the community to get tested and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Leukaemia also spelled as leukemia, is a category of several cancers that affect the blood cells of both children and adults – causing bone marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells, called leukemic cells. This form of cancer has four categories namely: acute myeloid leukaemia (AML); chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML); Acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) and chronic lymphotic leukaemia (CLL). According to sharecare.com, leukemic cells can accumulate in the bone marrow and blood, crowding out any healthy white blood cells, which fight infection and disease in our bodies. Leukemic cells also harm platelets, which safeguard against bleeding out, and red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout our bodies – leukaemia progresses either speedily, acutely or slowly like a chronic disease.

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Bathabile Msomi

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