Daniella vs. Leukaemia
When the year started, I had only just begun to see a clear path for where I would be in 20 or 30 years. I had just begun a new career and moved into my own apartment and could see a bright future for myself. Little did I know that the biggest battle for my life was around the corner.
From the beginning of February 2020 I had started noticing bruising over my legs and arms. Being as clumsy as I am, I never paid the bruising much attention. It wasn’t until I started noticing tiny blue and purple dots on my face and inside my mouth, that I knew these bruises weren’t from me walking into things, but rather that there was something else going on.
The most distinctive memory I have, is the emergency doctors and nurses at the Union Hospital rushing around me while the only thought in my mind was “I’m not ready to die”. Not knowing what was actually going on, I just knew I wasn’t ready.
My name is Daniella Van Zyl I am 26 years old and on the 3rd of March 2020 I was diagnosed with Philadelphia Chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (Ph+ALL), a rare type of blood cancer which requires me to have a lifesaving Bone Marrow Transplant. Given the severity of my condition, I was given 8 months to live. But my conviction remained; "I am not ready to die!"
It has been almost 7 months since my diagnosis and after 4 high doses of chemotherapy, 5 Bone Marrow Biopsies, 4 Spinal Taps and 17 Blood Transfusions, I am finally ready to receive a transplant that gives me a second chance at life. Only to find out on the 9th of September 2020 that my medical aid does not cover the procedure and I would need to fund the transplant myself.
To receive the news that for me to overcome this illness, it is going to cost me an estimated R1.5 million, was devastating. But, as the same woman who knew she wasn’t ready to give up then, I am even more determined to keep fighting for my life now.
Leukaemia crept up on me and truly knocked me off my feet!
Before my diagnosis, I had no idea about the symptoms or what the disease entails. It is for this exact reason that I find it extremely important to raise awareness and to offer any type of support to others fighting this dreaded illness.
At the time of my diagnosis I was so unsure and terrified, if I had a “me” offering support and guidance 7 months ago it would have made my journey a lot less scary.
So as I raise the funds to pay for my Bone Marrow Transplant, I am also planning on being a “me” to as many fellow fighters, as I possibly can.
“I am still here” – Daniella Van Zyl.