One afternoon during my recent Christmas break I sat outside in the cool breeze, sipped tea and browsed Instagram. It wasn’t long until I found Simon and Jess Nicholson’s photos of their Seal Point summer holiday. Happy blonde children smiled at me from my phone. Simon and Jess gushed how they loved their little family and how much they loved each other. I smiled inside.
It seems like just the other day that I was baby-sitting Simon and Peter Nicholson in Seal Point! Our families used to go down to the Eastern Cape on an annual summer pilgrimage and these holidays produced some of my happiest memories. We have all grown up now and it was so wonderful to see Simon enjoying Seals with his lovely wife Jess and two gorgeous kids.
Life felt sweet and perfect.
A few weeks later I found myself in the UK.
As I was casually looking through my Facebook feed I noticed that Jess was in the hospital. I went onto their pages and here’s where my tears started. These are Simon’s words.
In my lifetime I have been challenged with a few frightening situations. Like being caught inside at 15 foot Pipeline, like being hijacked with shots fired, armed robbers breaking into my house, being held up at knife point in the street.
Nothing comes close to the terrifying sight I saw on Saturday the 9th of February 2013 when my wife and soul mate, Jessica, suffered a massive seizure out of the blue. The timeline of events that followed has left me here … Sitting next a hospital bed in neuro ICU eight days later, while Jess recovers from brain surgery.
Turns out she had a brain tumor… And because it was on the dominant left hand side of the brain, it ruptured, causing the seizure, causing us to rush her to hospital and have a CT scan. That seizure it turns out, saved her life. The tumor, a grade 4 glioblastoma, would have quadrupled in the following months, and left me without my best friend, and a mother for our most beautiful special kids.
I thought I had life all figured out, had the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted.
My first mistake was that I have taken this incredibly special family for granted. I can do better, I want to do better.
My second is that I underestimated the value of having complete health security for my family. I have medical aid, but it’s not comprehensive, and as it so happens there is a shortfall.
Furthermore Jess is an incredibly driven, motivated, self employed fashion designer. Unfortunately the tumor was highly malignant, which means she is heading into a few years worth of Chemo and radiation starting immediately. That means life must change for us. Jess needs to focus all her strength into fighting this cancer, and that means we need help, and despite my pride and being brought up to stand on my own two feet, I want my wife to be around more than any of that.
So this is me asking for help, to cover the shortfall , to build a support structure, so Jess can get the care she needs, and keep our family together.
One never ever knows what is around the corner. I know there is not much I can do to take away their pain but I do know love, support and positive energy can go a long way. Jess is a fighter and I am sure this special family will get through this.
I have decided to auction off a portrait shoot and give the Nicholson family the proceeds. I will also be donating some of my own cash.
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