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Brave three-year-old fighting mysterious cancer
A Gauteng couple were recently told their first-born has cancer – but doctors don’t know what kind it is.
Chereez Nel. (Photo: Supplied)
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A Gauteng couple were recently told their first-born has cancer – but doctors don’t know what kind it is.

When three-year-old Chereez Nel from Boksburg started complaining of pain in her right cheek early this year, her parents, Angelique (33) and Pieter (36), took her to a doctor who put the little girl on a course of antibiotics. But the swelling in her cheek didn’t go down.

In March a CAT scan confirmed the couple’s worst fears: Chereez has cancer.

Doctors at the Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Parktown, Johannesburg, told the couple their daughter has an undifferentiated sarcoma – a type of cancerous growth where the cells don’t resemble the body tissue in which it develops.

Though doctors were able to establish that the cancer hasn’t spread to Chereez’s organs, laboratories in South African haven’t been able to establish what kind of cancer it is.

Biopsy samples have also been sent to laboratories in Switzerland and America, but they couldn’t confirm the type of cancer either.

“There are 25 doctors involved in Chereez’s case,” Angelique tells YOU hopefully. “She’s three years old, so she doesn’t need to know exactly what’s wrong. We’ve told her there’s a ‘little monster’ in her head that the doctors have to remove.”

Complicated operations and treatments are being planned for Chereez, including proton therapy, which is currently available only in America. Angelique says they’ve been corresponding with the Maryland Proton Treatment Centre in Baltimore, US, and the treatment will start in about six weeks’ time. In the meantime Chereez will continue to receive chemotherapy two to three days a week.

The treatment will cost about R2,7 million and the family have launched a fundraising project to help pay for it.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to get Chereez the best possible treatment to increase her chances on a full and normal life,” Angelique says.

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