‘We did it for Mihla!’ – Bubbly four-year-old cancer patient is Maties rugby team’s 'secret weapon'

2018-03-07 10:25
PHOTO: Facebook

PHOTO: Facebook

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The University of Stellenbosch’s Varsity Cup team beat long-time rivals Ikeys 33-14 in Stellenbosch on Monday evening.

But according to the team, it’s all thanks to a very special supporter.

At the beginning of the season the Maties decided to support four-year-old cancer patient Mihla Engelbrecht, and have been dedicated to raising awareness about her rare form of paediatric cancer with their campaign #Maties4Mihla.

Mihla, from Rustenburg in the North West, suffers from cerebral neuroblastoma, which is a type of brain cancer. 

The once blonde-haired tot has already lost most of her hair, but still sports a bright smile.

On Monday, little Mihla was flown down for the match between Maties and the University of Cape Town.

Maties loose forward Chris Massyn says they played with more dedication, knowing that she was watching.

"We all knew that Monday’s match was dedicated to Mihla, so we all played that much harder," he said. 

The team also made a donation to the trust which was established for the little girl, by contributing a percentage of every ticket sold for the game to the cause.

According to Mihla’s support group on Facebook, a tumour was recently removed from her brain, but with the sort of cancer she suffers from, it could easily return.

She’s currently undergoing chemotherapy and will be travelling to the US in December for specialised therapy, in the hope that the cancer can be removed altogether.

"She’s one of the friendliest and happiest little girls I’ve ever met. She laughs and dances all the time. She and our mascot Pokkel had such fun playing on the field before the match," Chris says.

"The team really wanted to help. We wanted to make a difference on and off the field," Chippie Oelofse, the team’s captain, told YOU.

Mihla's uncle and the team’s tighthead prop Neethling Fouché says, when he told the team about Mihla, they immediately wanted to help.

"I am so happy we get involved in this initiative as a team."

He says she’s a bubbly little girl who "can be lekker cheeky".

"There were 18 000 people at the stadium. It was packed and I think we really did a great job of creating awareness, and Mihla enjoyed it," he says.

Even though Mihla has been strong throughout her battle, her self-esteem has taken a knock.

"It’s difficult to lose your hair, but we just want her to know that she’s a huge inspiration to us. She stays positive and happy. It made me realise that it’s such a privilege to have your health," says Neethling.

Chippy says they hope to inspire other Varsity Cup teams to raise awareness and show support for other paediatric illnesses.

"As sports players we have the opportunity to change people’s lives. We hope other Varsity Cup teams get involved with causes like Mihla’s," he says.

According to Mihla’s Fabeook page, one of the Maties players even donated his match winnings to the little girl’s trust.

"We have such a big platform. I really hope that other teams also use their platforms for good," says Chris.

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  cape town  |  health  |  good news

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.