Ever since Johan ‘Ben’ Potgieter was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in 2021 at the age of eight, his parents Andries and Johanita have been on a mission to give him as normal a life as possible.
Ben, nicknamed Mighty Ben, is an intelligent young boy who has shown immense strength through this tough time in his life.
“Ben is such an obedient and soft little boy. He enjoys nature very much.
“I have so many photos of him out in nature — that is when he is his happiest,” said Johanita.
The vibrant young boy struggled through unbearable pain until his first chemo treatment in September last year, after which the pain subsided and he was able to get back to somewhat of a normal life.
Neuroblastoma is cancer that starts at an early stage in the nerve cells, called neuroblasts.
These cells then grow uncontrollably and become cancer cells that form a solid tumour. The tumours create hormones that control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important body functions.
The cancer often also spreads to other body parts such as the lymph nodes, bones, lungs, and liver.
Though it is normally detected before age one, Ben only received his diagnosis at the age of eight.
The Neuroblastoma is located in Ben’s right lung, next to his spine.
He is receiving chemotherapy treatment at Frere Hospital.
While Frere is a state hospital, Ben’s family still needs to cover the costs of the expensive chemo treatments. This is particularly challenging as Juanita is unable to work as she has to take care of Ben full-time.
He has so far had three chemo treatment sessions and will undergo a total of eight sessions until a further diagnosis can be made.
“I just want people to see that I am fighting my battle against cancer,” said the cheerful young man.
“I hope I can encourage other children who also have cancer and tell them not to lose hope.”
Andries said: “It has been a very long and tough journey and it has been a heavy strain on us.
“Ben is now in Grade 3 at Laerskool Nahoon, but he can’t go to school because of his health. At least the school still sends him work from time to time.
“It’s also tough on us financially because his mother can’t work because she takes care of Ben full-time.”
The Potgieter family will be hosting a special golf day to raise funds for Ben’s medical costs. The fundraiser will be held at the West Bank Golf Course on Saturday, October 15.
For more information, contact Hans at
082-422-5485 or Heinrich at 083-267-0592.