The heartfelt story of Velisa Sishuba is a powerful reminder that being “too young to have breast cancer” is a myth – and a dangerous one at that.
Velisa’s battle with cancer began in 2014, when she was only 17 and was diagnosed with angiosarcoma, a rare cancer which grows within the blood vessels and can move to any part of the body — in her case, the breast. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 she had numerous surgeries to remove the tumour and have reconstruction on both breasts after a mastectomy and a reduction of the remaining breast.
Then, in 2017, there was recurrence of the angiosarcoma, this time to the side of her back, and she had to undergo surgery again. In this case, however, she also had to go through a three-month course of chemotherapy and, shortly thereafter a month and 10 days of radiation.
When her cancer returned for a 3rd time, Velisa was unable to beat the odds and tragically passed away in February 2019 at the tender age of 22. We at CheckKnowPrevent were – and are - devastated at her passing. V, as her friends called her, was a remarkable young woman and a journalism student at Rhodes University.
We have no doubt that V would have gone on to become an extraordinary journalist and storyteller, and her loss is a great one. Her special loves were the arts, people, music, dance, piano and helping other people – which is how our paths crossed.
Velisa was a strong proponent of early diagnosis of breast cancer and was an ardent supporter of CheckKnowPrevent and our mission. It is with love and admiration that our Sports Bra is named after her, a tribute to her legacy and a way in which she can continue helping people even though she is no longer with us. V was aware of this fact, and it brought her great pride and joy to know that her legacy would live on in this meaningful way.
Tell us your cancer story – be it one of survival and hope or to pay tribute to a fallen warrior. We’d love to hear about and honour these brave people and their support networks