Mrs SA semi-finalist inspires with cancer victory

2016-04-27 06:00
Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs South Africa semi-finalist, Lizelle Knott (left), with Rushmere Noach Director, Liane Koorsse, at a recent business breakfast aimed at creating cancer awareness.                                                        Photo: SUPPLIED

Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs South Africa semi-finalist, Lizelle Knott (left), with Rushmere Noach Director, Liane Koorsse, at a recent business breakfast aimed at creating cancer awareness. Photo: SUPPLIED

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INSPIRATIONAL two-time cancer survivor, Lizelle Knott, who is one of the Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs South Africa semi-finalists, was recently in the Bay to address women at a business breakfast ahead of Mrs South Africa CANSA Gala dinner in Johannesburg on April 29.

Port Elizabeth born Lizelle (36) resides in East London with her three-year-old son, Grayson and husband Warren Knott. At the age of 16, she was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma and in 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lizelle has beaten cancer twice and is passionate about encouraging others through speaking out about her ordeal and her healing journey.

Through sharing her story, she also wants to continue to create breast cancer awareness and emphasised the importance of having both mammogram and breast sonar if you have any concerns about your diagnostic test.

Due to the treatment she received during her battle with cancer as a teenager, she endured total hair-loss. However, during her second battle with cancer, Lizelle was determined to hang onto her hair. She explained it was not about vanity, it was about privacy and the right of a cancer patient to decide who knows about it.

“The first few hours of chemotherapy treatment is a critical time to protect the hair roots so that hair does not fall out. I didn’t want my little boy to be frightened by seeing my hair fall out or to be scared by my illness,” she said.

Lizelle was one of the first patients to participate in Cold Cap therapy to limit the loss of her hair. The website www.coldcap.com explains the process where the caps are frozen to minus 30 degrees and applied to the scalp. The blood vessels which would otherwise carry the drug agents harmful to hair follicles become constricted. It is well tolerated by most people but can be uncomfortable which is why Lizelle used two electric hot water bottles and cut-up panty liners to protect her ears and forehead.

She mentioned that she is extremely grateful for the support her surgeons gave her, and thanked Dr Linda Whitelock Jones from Bay Breast Care Centre, and Plastic surgeon, Dr Chris Van der Walt who was instrumental during her journey and would always reply to emails after 12 at night with any concerns that she had.

Lizelle’s involvement in the Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs South Africa pageant is due to CANSA being the sole beneficiary. The cause is close to her heart and being part of it will enable her to raise much needed awareness and funds.

“I’m absolutely excited about being a semi-finalist and also having the chance to raise awareness, share my story and inspire more people.

“I want to encourage women who have been diagnosed with cancer to realise that regardless of the scars, or the hair loss, or how sick they may feel, they are still beautiful. They’re still a woman, a wife, a mother and they can do anything they put their minds to,” Lizelle said.

Lizelle believes that attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. She advised women who are facing a battle with cancer to set goals for themselves which will give them something special to plan and look forward to.

“Set yourself a goal, something that you can look forward to. For me, it was planning my son’s two-year birthday party. I looked forward to his birthday and I would go on Pinterest to find party ideas for my son,” she said.

Director of Rushmere Noach Incorporated, Liane Koorsse, who assisted with organising the breakfast, said Lizelle’s story is a gift of inspiration that speaks of hope, determination, fearlessness, love and life.

“We at Rushmere have been affected by cancer in some way or another and so it is a cause very close to our hearts. We wanted to share her incredible story with women in our community and are excited to be part of this Women Empowerment programme that is Mrs South Africa as Lizelle’s silver sponsor and we look forward to this journey with her.”

As a PE based law firm, Rushmere Noach Attorneys encourage a strong social responsibility ethic and support many charities across the Bay. Cancer survivor, board member and representative for the Igazi Foundation, Zodwa Dube, also attended the breakfast.

The Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs SA final crowning will take place end of October.

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