27-year-old Johan Fourie vannie Calitzdorp has obtained his Bachelor of Social Work degree Cum Laude at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) while fighting against cancer for the second time.
Soon after Johan matriculated, he left home to study a Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of the Witwatersrand.
In 2014, his mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Johan’s father also lost his job so he had to drop out of university and take care of his mother. To provide for his family, he started a job in social work at ACVV, a non-profit organization in social services. His mother had to undergo Chemotherapy twice a month, which made her very weak. He would hitchhike to George Hospital, where she received her treatment.
In 2016, Johan’s mother was declared in remission and he received a scholarship to continue his studies at UWC. Things finally started looking good for them.
Then sadly, in May last year, Johan was also diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. It was right in the middle of the Mid-Year Examination. He says it was an extremely difficult time, saying, “I couldn’t accept it, I had never been the patient before. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me.”
He has to undergo Targeted Chemotherapy for the rest of his life. The side effects are terrible so Johan was always highly medicated when attending class and writing tests or examinations. He owes R30 000 in medical debt which he wants to start paying off as soon as he finds a job.
Johan says if he had to make all these sacrifices again he would, his mother made him the person he is today.
Johan, djy is ‘n inspiration vi ôs ammel. Saloot!