Big brother

A big brother will always go out of his way to protect his little sister. We hear how Yvot Dos-Reis did exactly this when his sister, Pegghy, received oncology treatment in South Africa.


Pegghy Dos-Reis (32) lives in Cotonou, Benin with her husband and two daughters, aged eight and four.

April 2016

At the age of 30, Pegghy was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She was advised by the medical oncologist in Benin to go to either France, Morocco or SA for treatment as these relating countries offered better treatment options. Whereas in Benin, Pegghy would probably be given the surgery option of a mastectomy and since she was still young, he didn’t want this for her. 

Pegghy opted for SA as her older brother, Yvot, resides here. The medical oncologist said she could expect to undergo a lumpectomy, followed by chemo and radiation once in SA. Thankfully, due to Pegghy working for an insurance company, her medical aid covered treatment in SA but only one return flight.

South Africa

However, in November, after consultation with the referred surgeon and oncologist in SA, Pegghy was immediately put on ‘Red devil’ due to   a suspected lesion on her liver, meaning the breast cancer could have spread.

After the four cycles of ‘Red devil’, the surgeon told her the chemo will be halted to undergo a mastectomy, and reconstruction would not be done as she would need to continue chemo and radiation thereafter. 

Pegghy was besides herself as this was not what she prepared herself for. Yvot, being her older brother, was also not comfortable with this sudden change. When Yvot questioned the oncologist regarding the surgeon’s choice, his answers weren’t sound to him. The oncologist, then, sent Pegghy for a ultrasound and it turned out the lesion on her liver was not cancerous. Thus, Yvot decided to seek a second opinion even though Pegghy’s mastectomy was booked for a few days’ time.

French speaking Bosom Buddy

In the interim, Yvot’s neighbour had put Pegghy into contact with a breast cancer survivor, Marian Glauber, from Bosom Buddies. This was a blessing as Marian could speak French and Pegghy could finally communicate in her home language. This had a positive effect in Pegghy’s journey. Marian and Pegghy are still close friends today.

Change in treatment plan

After consulting a breast specialist for a second opinion and having the results reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team, relief hit Pegghy. Chemo didn’t have to be stopped and a lumpectomy could be done. Yvot cancelled the booked mastectomy and changed Pegghy’s doctors.

The tumour responded well to the remainder of the chemo, and the lumpectomy, with immediate reconstruction, was performed in July 2017. Thereafter six weeks of radiation commenced. Currently, Pegghy is on her second year of 10 years of tamoxifen. 

Family support

In between the cycles of chemo, Pegghy travelled back home to Benin. She was fortunate enough to have her mother take care of her daughters while she underwent treatment. Her husband visited her in SA once, otherwise they chatted everyday via WhatsApp. 

Yvot, and his wife, Rose, took care of Pegghy’s every need while she was in SA.

Furthermore, due to Pegghy not being fluent in English, while Yvot is: he played an integral part in her treatment as he was the interpreter between the doctors and Pegghy. It was not only Pegghy fighting the disease but her big brother stepped in to protect her, and be her source of strength.

Pursuing dreams

Yvot’s love for his sister is transparent; he has now prompted her to pursue her dreams. “My sister is extraordinarily artistic, she has been ever since she was young. She needs to now follow her passion as she has real talent, and life has offered her with a second chance to live her dreams,” Yvot says.

Making necklaces out of old T-shirts and customising mirrors with beads is only a small part of Pegghy’s talent. Young Pegghy has taken her brother’s advice and has started her own brand, Fairy Hands, in hopes that it will grow. In the meantime, she still works as an insurance officer. 

Support group in Cotonou

The support from Bosom Buddies was so impactful, it stirred Pegghy to start her own support group. It seems Pegghy has great favour as a NGO, SOS Cancer, has requested to team up. She adds there is still stigma around cancer, so many women don’t talk about it, but, they’re working to change that.

Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. editor@buddiesforlife.co.za

MEET OUR EDITOR – Laurelle Williams

Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. editor@buddiesforlife.co.za


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