Thando* was admitted into Philani’s programme as he was severely underweight at 2 years. Thando and his mother are originally from the Eastern Cape but arrived in Cape Town as he was referred to Red Cross Hospital. He was diagnosed with a nephroblastoma (kidney cancer) and was referred for chemotherapy, as his cancer was advanced.

On the first visit, stress was written all over the mother’s face. She was 21 years old and was struggling to cope on her own. Her mother died a long time ago and she didn’t have anyone to support her or a shoulder to cry on. We started our intervention and gave her our support.

As the Thando was one of our serious cases and we were concerned about his diagnosis, we visited often. On our third visit he had a very high temperature. We referred him to KDH where he was diagnosed and treated for a chest infection.

Thando’s weight is now improving, and his mother is grateful for the support she is receiving from Philani. Every time we visit we remind her about her appointments at Red Cross Hospital, and follow-up after her appointments.

Thando is now attending an educare. His mother receives a disability grant which allows her to buy nutritious food and clothes, and funds transport for her appointments to the hospital. Thando is now a playful and happy young boy. His mother has changed – she now has a smile on her face. She says she is happy and that we are her support system.

*Names have been changed to protect identities