Jason Hinde (16) is a student at St John’s College in Johannesburg. He decided to write his own story, while his mother was undergoing chemotherapy treatment. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2013. Jason shared his story with Buddies for Life.
For most teens, life has its obvious defining moments – being chosen for the school’s first team water polo, asking a pretty girl out (and her saying ‘yes’), hitting a hole in one on the golf course and finally after years of studying, graduating. For me, finding out my mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer was a defining moment.
She was diagnosed in November of 2013. I’ll never forget the day my Dad arrived at my grade nine leadership camp to break the news that my mother had breast cancer. It was a very emotionally taxing time for all of us. I tried to make sense of it for the first few weeks and spent a lot of time in my room and on the golf course. The thought of my mother’s suffering made me really sad.
Up until then, I had seen myself as a budding wildlife conservationist, happily raising funds for endangered leopard and rhino. I never imagined breast cancer to be my next fundraising cause.
After my mom’s diagnosis, I found out that one in every eight women in South Africa is at risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Only a statistic until a family member is diagnosed with the disease, then it becomes a reality. From not really knowing or having to deal with cancer before, I soon realised that tragically, too many children have been affected by the diagnosis of a family member with breast cancer.
My mother’s breast cancer diagnosis meant a rigorous treatment programme to save her life. She had to undergo surgery, a year of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. My mom began her chemo treatments and started losing her hair. I got over the initial shock and started attending her treatments. My mom’s doctor told me that because her cancer was detected in time, she had a very good chance of a healthy recovery.
Dealing with my mother’s cancer was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. I will never be the same again, but going through the experience with her made me strong and compassionate towards other people going through a breast cancer journey.
I’d like to encourage other teenagers to encourage their mothers to get checked, as early detection can save a mother’s life – it saved my mother’s life!
So far, with the help of generous donors, the HYF has been able to raise substantial funds for breast cancer through the sale and auction of our art donations. Funds raised have been donated to the Breast Health Foundation to aid their facility at the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg.
Jason continues to blog about things in his life and recently started his own foundation, the HYF (Hinde Youth Foundation). HYF is a registered non-profit organisation that supports charitable projects in South Africa. HYF was established with a substantial founding donation of a portfolio of Gerald Hinde photographs and subsequent art donations. With the continued sale and auction thereof, funds have benefitted children’s education and youth projects, wildlife conservation and a cancer charity.
Jason’s first fundraising event was hosted by Cyril Ramaphosa, founder and chairman of Adopt-a-School Foundation – a non-profit organisation, which mobilises support from companies and individuals for school development. The contributions at this event raised almost R5 480 000 for the foundation.
When Jason takes a break from his fundraisers and school, he loves spending time with his adorable cats, Milo and Oliver. He also enjoys playing hockey and golf.
Jason’s advise to other youngsters: “Just stay positive, it is really not as bad as it sounds. Breast Cancer is curable!
For more information on the Hinde Youth Foundation visit www.hyf.co.za.
Written by Elsje Beneke.