Testimony by Jill Bennett-Howes
Mike Mthembu is a self-taught builder who lives in rural Zululand in South Africa. He’s married to Janet and they have six children who are still at school. His journey with cancer began about two years ago, sadly neither Mike nor his family realised he had cancer at this point. It took eighteen months to receive a cancer diagnosis during which Mike went back and forth to clinics and rural hospitals to find a doctor who could make him better. Over a year, Mike’s health visibly deteriorated. He would no longer arrive at a job site in his sputtering jalopy, proudly shout, “Good morning” and get out his paintbrush, hammer or nails to start his day’s work.
We have known Mike for over ten years as he helped to build our family home and assist with other building work at our business. We noticed the change in Mike but did not know the cause of his illness. As Mike got sicker, he was unable to continue to work and support his family. We had to step in to help. Six months ago, we were told by a neighbour that Mike was dying as he was too proud to tell us himself. We arranged for Mike to see an oncology professor who diagnosed him with cancer. This specialist, however, believes that Mike is lucky, as his cancer is very curable with the correct treatment.
Unfortunately, the cost of this life-saving intensive treatment of three radium and three chemotherapy treatment cycles is far beyond Mike’s means. This treatment will cost a total equivalent of USD 12,000. Despite assurances from the oncology professor that this treatment will save his life, Mike is left with the carrot of curable treatment but without the means to afford it.
Jill and Richard are unable to fund the cost of the treatment personally and are therefore reaching out for any assistance to help pay for Mike’s medicine.
Mike is committed to doing anything he can to get his health back. He worked hard to teach himself a skill and source work as a builder to support his family. His attention to detail and positive personality helped make him a popular building choice in the small South African town in which he lives. Mike has given a lot to the community and now he needs our help.
“Mike is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and a very skilled builder who can do almost any job on a building site, including building a house from scratch. Mike has a form of cancer that is curable however the funding is far beyond Mike’s means. We are all doing what we can but the expenses are significant and donations are desperately needed. Mike and all of us who know him would be very grateful for any donation, no matter how small.” - Richard Howes