17 Year old Camps Bay High School Matric learner and Hout Bay resident, Leeanne Osner, has been diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Osner family has put out an appeal for assistance, both to show Leeanne emotional support and to assist with payment of the medical bills for her necessary treatment.
Said Martin Osner, Leeanne’s father, “The 7th of December is a day that we would rather try to forget. That was the day that we received the dreaded call from Leeanne’s GP, Dr Alice Powell, that she wanted to see us immediately – she said that results of tests she had conducted on Leeanne were inconclusive but suspicious enough to suspect cancer.”
A few days earlier, Leeanne had seen her doctor as she had broken out into a rash and was complaining of tiredness and a gland in her neck that “didn’t feel right”.
Added Osner, “Looking back, that day feels surreal. To make matters worse, I am self-employed and due to difficult times a short while prior, we had to cancel our medical insurance. Never did I for one minute conceive that one of our children would fall desperately ill.”
Urged by their GP and another friend in the medical field, the family sought to get a conclusive diagnosis but unfortunately, due to Covid-19 infections, the family was turned away from Groote Schuur Hospital and was referred to Victoria Hospital. After a six hour wait at Victoria Hospital, Leeanne got to see a physician who told them to come back the following week for CT scans.
Said Osner, “On the morning of our appointment at Victoria Hospital, Covid-19 had also become high risk there and I just could not take Leeanne there with the thought that she could possibly contract Covid on top of cancer. I was in a dark hole and thought that as a family, we were facing this storm on our own. The previous evening I received a call from Leeanne’s boyfriend’s mother, who said that Qiyam would like to start a crowdfunding campaign but needed my permission. At first I was not keen to declare publicly that I could not afford health care but I decided to put my pride in my pocket to allow Leeanne’s boyfriend, Qiyam Neave, to set up the Crowdfunding campaign.”
Added Osner, “I also called on a few close friends to ask for donations to allow us to at least get the CAT scans and the operation for a tissue biopsy done at Constantiaberg Private Hospital, and incredibly, within a day, sufficient donations had come in and we were able to get started. The plan was to do all the necessary pre-treatment analysis at Constantiaberg and then approach the Oncology unit at Groote Schuur Hospital for assistance thereafter.”
Leeanne was admitted to Constantiaberg Private Hospital for the various tests, scans and the biopsy needed for diagnosis and a few days later it was confirmed that she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer that attacks the immune system of the body.
Said Osner, “We could only get an appointment at Groote Schuur after Christmas, so we decided to consult with Dr du Toit, the resident Hematologist at Constantiaberg Private Hospital, on his advice for treatment. The severity of the condition hit home as he said the cancer was at Stage III. Dr du Toit said that although Groote Schuur Hospital was outstanding, the state facility would only be able to start treatment mid-January or even later.”
Added Osner, “Dr du Toit said that Leeanne would need a port placed into her chest that would allow the medicine to be directed directly into her heart. He checked with the surgeon, Dr Hampton, who had carried out the original biopsy procedure and space had become available in theatre for the next day and Dr Hampton agreed to do the procedure, again at a discounted rate to assist us.”
Thanks to the generosity of friends of the Osners and members of the public, the family had managed to raise sufficient funds to go ahead with a bone marrow biopsy, the operation required for her port, and her first of twelve chemotherapy treatment sessions, which will be spread over a six months period.
Doctors are concerned about the cancer in three areas of Leeanne’s body: her upper chest (close to her neck), her lungs and her stomach. The family is waiting on feedback from the bone marrow biopsy. Leeanne received her first round of chemotherapy treatment on 7 January 2021.
Said Osner, “Leeanne’s journey to full recovery has now begun. On behalf of my family, and Qiyam, we cannot express our gratitude enough to every single person who has helped us this far, financially – from the $1 donation to generous blessings we have received, empathy, encouragement and kind words and most importantly prayer. We are overwhelmed with emotion and eternally grateful.”
For more information, regular updates on Leeanne’s journey, and to find out how you can contribute towards the Love 4 Lee campaign which will ensure that Leeanne can complete the treatment she needs, visit https://www.martinosner.com/love-4-lee
Local donations to the campaign can be made to the account that the family has opened:
Bank: First National Bank
Branch Code: 250 655
Account Type: Cheque Account
Account Name: MARTIN OSNER
Account Number: 6287 1043 130
Reference: Love 4 Lee