Mrs SA Semi-Finalist Lizelle Knott cancer Survivor & Champion of Hope

Lizelle Knott post
Lizelle Knott

I am a wife, a mom, a cancer Survivor and also a Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs South Africa Semi-Finalist for 2016!

Winning the Mrs South Africa title would give me the opportunity to be a role model and to inspire others! I want someone, going through a similar journey as I did to look at me and say, “Because of you, I didn’t give up!”.

I want to encourage women who have been diagnosed with cancer to realise that regardless of the scars, or the hair loss or how sick they may feel, they are still beautiful. They’re still a woman, a wife, a mother. And they can do anything they put their minds to!

I’ve Survived Cancer TWICE

In 1996 I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 16, fourteen months after my dad was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver outside Uitenhage. I underwent surgery, radiation and 10 rounds of chemo. I was in Std. 9 (Grade 11) at the time. I also lost all my hair and spent 9 months of the year wearing a wig.

Then in 2014, I contacted my GP about a lump in my breast. Initially she was not concerned as I had undergone a few surgeries to remove lumps before and the results had all, thankfully, been clear.

I was sent for an ultrasound of my right breast which showed something worrying. The radiologist was concerned and decided I needed to go for a mammogram urgently. The mammogram showed nothing. The radiologist then decided to do a needle biopsy into the lump using an ultrasound for guidance.

The needle biopsy results confirmed his suspicions. The lump was malignant. So on 29 January 2014, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with cancer a second time. This time breast cancer in my right breast. My little boy was only 14 months old at the time.

On 13 February 2014, I underwent a unilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstruction to my right breast.

At the time we hoped that the surgery would remove all the cancer, but unfortunately it had spread to my lymph nodes and I would need chemo. The doctors also felt that since I was under the age of 40 the chemo was a vital step in ensuring that the cancer did not reoccur at a later stage.

I was devastated. This would be the 2nd time in my life that I needed to go through chemotherapy. On 16 April 2014 I had my first round of six chemo sessions for breast cancer. My last chemo was on 31 July 2014.

I feel so fortunate to have read about Cold Caps on the internet before starting chemo and my husband and I decided I should give them a try. Thanks to the minus 32 degree celcius Cold Caps freezing my head, I managed to save most of my hair and didn’t look like the typical chemo patient! Both Longevity Magazine and Your Family featured articles on my use of Cold Caps and I hope that it raises awareness so that other cancer patients can benefit from it.

A CANSA Champion of Hope

I am also a member of CANSA’s Facebook Support Group for cancer Survivors (patients / those in remission) “Champions of Hope – CANSA Survivors” – please sign up here if you should need support…

Why Enter the Mrs SA Pageant?

Mrs South Africa is the number one pageant for married women in South Africa and is seen as a women empowerment program, not a beauty pageant in the traditional sense of the word.

Mrs South Africa Winners, Finalists and Entrants, are usually successful business women, mothers and wives with a high LSM and between the ages of 25-50 years. Most entrants have their own businesses or are in a stable career environment and sometimes even hold very high positions in corporate companies. Mrs South Africa is married, sophisticated, beautiful!

As you may already know, our reigning Mrs South Africa, Candice Abrahams, was recently announced as Mrs World. It makes this whole competition even more exciting for those of us embarking on this journey.

The sole beneficiary of the competition is CANSA, and with it being a cause so close to my heart, as I have beaten cancer twice, this was my motivation for entering. Read more about Mrs SA and CANSA’s partnership…

I am hoping the competition will provide me with a platform to tell my story to others and motivate those going through a similar experience to persevere. It will also provide me with an awesome opportunity to work with CANSA and to assist them in raising awareness and much needed funds for service delivery to those affected by cancer.