Helen Kutumela is a young lady who hails from Modimolle in the Waterberg District in Limpopo. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at the age of 8 years. Due to lack of education about cancer and its symptoms, her family believed that she had one of the rare illnesses that can be cured by traditional herbs and medicine. Little did they know that their daughter was suffering from a bone cancer “Osteosarcoma”.
“My family went all out trying to seek help and a cure for my condition. They eventually took me to the Steve Biko hospital in 2001 where I was diagnosed with the cancer of the bones on my right leg” mentioned Helen Kutumela. She started undergoing the treatment to cure the cancer at Steve Biko and Kalafong Hospitals. It was a very tough time for her family as they believed that all cancer victims end up at the grave. The myth that
they were fed by society was that cancer is incurable.
As the years passed by, her cancer became worse and was spreading across the entire leg. The doctors worked hard and advised the family that for them to save her life they need to amputate her leg. As Kutumela was a minor, her family made the tough choice on her behalf and decided to take the chance in saving her life by agreeing to the amputation of her leg.
“Waking up with no leg in 2005, was the worst nightmare of my life. I kept on asking the hospital personnel of the whereabouts of my leg. I was 12 years at that time, and me waking up with my leg gone was something I didn’t absorb well” said Kutumela. Her family supported her though the ordeal. Their support and encouragement developed some confidence in Kutumela. She started facing the world heads on. She continued with her education facing challenges at school as she was living with the disability. However, that did not affect her goals and vision.
In 2012 she was cleared of the cancer after undergoing many treatments at the hospital. And that was a huge achievement for her and her family. She became the talk of the community as the young hero who
won a battle against the mighty cancer.
“I’m so grateful that my family walked with me through the whole journey. They have been my pillar of strength from the beginning until now. I am also grateful to Working on Fire for not investing in my career and my future. They gave me an opportunity when they recruited me” mentioned Kutumela. Kutumela is currently employed by Working on Fire as a Store Controller for Modimolle Base. She joined WOF in 2019 and has undergone training in Stock management, financial skills, and computer studies.