We don’t know how to tell Shaunie he is dying, says mom of terminally ill 11-year-old

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Feb 10, 2021

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Cape Town - A crowdfunding campaign has been launched on BackaBuddy to raise enough money a PlayStation 5 for terminally ill 11-year-old Shaunie Pretorius, before his 12th birthday.

Shaun and Bianca Pretorius from Benoni, Johannesburg learned in In July 2020 about the devastating news that their son, Shaunie, a was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive, and terminal type of brain cancer called Brainstem Glioma.

At the beginning of lockdown, Shaunie was struggling with fatigue and constant vomiting.

The family initially thought that his condition was possibly brought on by school stress and adapting to online learning during lockdown, and his parents thereafter took him to a number of doctors to see what was wrong.

At the beginning of lockdown, Shaunie was struggling with fatigue and constant vomiting. Picture: Supplied

Matters soon got worse when the antibiotics he was given barely helped and he began struggling with his eyesight, had difficulty moving around and battled to communicate.

To determine the cause of Shaunie’s rapid decline, he was taken for a CT scan at Linmed Hospital in Johannesburg.

The results of the x-ray determined that Shaunie has a cancerous tumour in his brain stem, a fatal condition known as Brainstem Glioma, which has a median survival rate of only 9 months.

“Hearing that your child, who has always been perfectly healthy, is fighting a deadly disease and only has a few months left to live is devastating,” said his mother, Bianca.

With doctors unable to operate on Shaunie, he underwent 12 aggressive radiation therapy sessions to shrink his tumour and alleviate some of his pain.

To determine the cause of Shaunie’s rapid decline, he was taken for CT scan at Linmed Hospital in Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied

To shelter Shaunie from the severity of his condition, his parents haven’t told him that his tumour is cancerous, but he understands why he has begun losing his hair and that he is unwell.

“We don’t know how to tell Shaunie that he is dying. We still have hope that God will hear our prayers and that he will make it through,” Bianca added.

As there is no cure for Shaunie’s condition, he is currently being treated symptomatically with cannabis oil and steroids to help the swelling on his brain and increase his appetite.

As only 1% of children diagnosed with Brainstem Glioma live up to 5 years, the Pretorius family are focused on keeping Shaunie as healthy, as pain free and as comfortable as possible.

They also want him to enjoy the time he has left with his parents and his 3-year-old little brother, Mattie.

They also want him to enjoy the time he has left with his parents and his 3-year-old little brother, Mattie. Picture: Supplied

Focusing on all the things that spark joy for a young boy, Shaunie’s uncle Juandre Botha has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fulfil Shaunie’s ultimate dream to own a PlayStation 5 just in time for his 12th birthday on March 9.

“Sadly we do not know exactly how much time we have left with our little man, so we really want to make every single day as special and as comfortable as possible for him.

“As I'm sure anyone can imagine this battle is really hard on him but he's a very strong-willed little fighter and we are so proud of him,” Jaundre said.

With generous support, Shaunie’s campaign has already raised over R9 000 towards his fundraising target of R12 000, with contributions from 18 donors across the country.

Additional funds raised by Shaunie’s campaign will be used to cover his additional medical expenses, specialized food and living expenses.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched on BackaBuddy to raise enough money a Playstation 5 for terminally ill 11-year-old Shaunie Pretorius, before his 12th birthday.

People interested in Shaunie’s journey can follow the Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/290853758846766

Those wishing to donate to Shaunie’s campaign, can do so here: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/shaunie-botha. Donate via Snapscan: https://pos.snapscan.io/qr/shaunie-bothaPS5

Cape Argus

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