Go blue for Helen Hugo this May

2018-04-26 06:00
Avid cyclist Jacques Herselman (right) from Dirk Ellis Volkswagen and the organisers of the annual MySpar Mountain Bike Classic, joined forces to help raise much-needed funds for Helen Hugo (left) - a loving wife and mother of four beautiful children, who was diagnosed with phase four colon cancer on November 17, 2017. Photo:MONIQUE BASSON

Avid cyclist Jacques Herselman (right) from Dirk Ellis Volkswagen and the organisers of the annual MySpar Mountain Bike Classic, joined forces to help raise much-needed funds for Helen Hugo (left) - a loving wife and mother of four beautiful children, who was diagnosed with phase four colon cancer on November 17, 2017. Photo:MONIQUE BASSON

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WHETHER you are cycling, walking or just showing your support . . . go blue for cancer patient Helen Hugo this May.

Avid cyclist Jacques Herselman from Dirk Ellis Volkswagen and the organisers of the annual MySpar Mountain Bike Classic, joined forces to help raise much-needed funds for Hugo - a loving wife and mother of four beautiful children, who was diagnosed with phase four colon cancer on November 17, 2017. The tumour was too big to remove immediately, and she had to undergo weeks of radiation and chemotherapy to shrink the tumour.

Hugo underwent an extensive operation on March 26, 2018, during which a large part of her colon was removed. She only spent two days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and two days in a general ward. The doctor was so impressed with her quick recovery, that she was discharged on March 30.

However, Hugo must still undergo a further six months of chemotherapy after cancer cells were found in one of the 10 glands that were removed.

To help raise funds for the treatment and create awareness, Herselman will sport a blue buff with the words H4H (Hope 4 Helen) on race day, Sunday, May 6. He encourages all participants and spectators to support this worthy cause by purchasing a blue buff at R20 each.

Funds raised will go towards Hugo’s treatment costs and other unforeseen expenses the family faces now.

“Let’s paint race day blue in support of the #HOPE4HELEN campaign,” says Herselman who will also celebrate his birthday on this day.

For more information or to buy a blue buff at R20 each, contact Ronel Serfontein from Dirk Ellis at 042 293 007 or MySpar MTB Classic organiser Sue Smit at 082 876 42714. Buffs will also be on sale at the MySpar MTB Classic on Sunday, May 6.

Helen Hugo’s story

Since she can remember, Hugo struggled with her stomach - always having pain medication at hand.

During her third and last pregnancy, the pain got worse, but being pregnant, she attributed the increased pain to piles - not really being worried. About a year after the birth of her youngest child, the pain increased even more.

That is when they decided to see a doctor, who in turn referred her to a colorectal and gastroenterologist.

“I still remember telling my husband that I am going to be really unimpressed if the doctor tells me it is Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS),” says Hugo.

Instead of IBS, the doctor discovered a growth of substantial size.

“Just there my whole world stopped turning,” says Hugo. “I could not speak or move. I just sat there, looking at this doctor who without any emotion told me he believes I have cancer. I had to book a MRI and CT scan for confirmation.

“As we got into the car, both my husband and I just started crying. Here I was, a mom of four small children - aged 1, 4, 5 and 8. I have always lived a healthy lifestyle, exercised, and took care of my body. Now this? Thoughts that I might not see my kids grow up filled by head. My one-year-old will not even remember me. I was heartbroken.

“But one thing I learned, is that you truly start living the moment you come face to face with the reality of dying.”

According to Hugo, after the scans confirmed she had colon cancer, one of her weakest moments was when they told their kids that she had a bug in her tummy and would need treatment and an operation.

“When telling them that my hair might fall out and I might get really sick, my 8-year-old daughter told me that if my hair did fall out, I can cut off all her hair. My 5-year-old told me that she thinks that I ate too much, and all I need is to take a really big poo.”

Hugo started with chemotherapy and radiation middle December 2017 as the tumour was too big to remove immediately.

“Chemotherapy and radiation sucked,” says Hugo. “It takes everything from you. I was tired and sick, and some days in so much pain . . . the kind of pain you cannot explain. And no medication helped. My skin was burnt and my body was sore. It felt like my body was a dud. My life as I knew it had changed, and it kept on changing faster than I could adapt.

But she refused to lie down, give up, feel sorry for herself and play the victim. She kept doing crossfit throughout the treatments.

On March 26, 2018, she had her big procedure where a large part of her colon was removed. She only spent two days in ICU, as opposed to the predicted five days, and two days in a general ward instead of nine days. The doctor was so impressed with her quick recovery, that she was discharged on March 30.

Hugo went for her first doctor visit after the surgery on April 4, and was told that she is a ‘walking miracle’. However, there are still cancer cells present in one of the 10 glands that were removed. She therefore needs to undergo another six months of chemotherapy.

Hugo says she has learnt so much over the past months.

“I have learnt that it is possible to constantly change your ‘normal’. That you can actually cope with bad news upon bad news. That self pity will get you nowhere, so toughen up. Life is hard and it can suck at times, but you will get through this.

“Most important, I have experienced just how amazing God is. Nowhere does He say that, as His child, we will not have bad things happen to us. But He does promise that when they do, He will be there for us.

“I have been endlessly blessed by my amazing husband, family and our caring community in ways I never thought possible.”

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