Mom and daughter had encouraged each other to hold on to life – until they couldn’t anymore and succumbed to cancer just months apart.
Eight-year-old Alexis Rhoode from Moorreesburg, in the Swartland region of the Western Cape, passed away on Wednesday, 1 April, three months after her mom, Erica, died aged 51.
“My only comfort is that they’re reunited now,” says Erica’s eldest daughter, Jeandré Easton.
Alexis died at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town with her dad André and her other sister, Claudia, at her bedside.
Erica is survived also by her sons, André and Clyde.
In June last year, YOU’s sister magazine Huisgenoot reported on Erica having kept a vigil for months at Alexis’ bedside in hospital, praying that her daughter would beat cancer.
Lexi, as Alexis was fondly known to her family, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2015, when she was just three years and eight months old.
It was Erica’s fervent hope that her daughter would recover and for two years she focused her energy on Lexi.
When Eric first discovered a lump in her breast in 2016, she ignored it, but she ended up having a mastectomy in March 2017.
Mom and daughter received chemotherapy for months. When Erica found a lump on her throat in December 2018, and the cancer was confirmed to have spread to her lungs, liver and bones, Lexi was in remission.
Doctors were unable to offer Erica further treatment and she died on 8 December.
The following day, it was confirmed that Lexi’s cancer had returned and she resumed treatment.
“Towards the end she was very weak,” Jeandré says. “The cancer had spread and the chemotherapy wasn’t working. It’s hard for my dad, he’s trying to cope but is still processing the loss.”
Alexis was buried on Saturday, 4 April. Only a handful of family members were permitted to attend because of the national lockdown.
The family are planning a memorial service once lockdown has ended.
“There are so many lovely memories,” Jeandré says. “They were such an inspiration to us and they kept smiling, even throughout this whole ordeal.”