Serious illness, whether your own or that of a loved one, has a huge impact on the lives of everyone involved. The popular SAMA acclaimed singer-songwriter and actor, Valiant Swart, and his wife can attest to this fact.
Lanelle, who is also his agent, underwent cancer surgery two years ago. There has, however, been complications and she was recently diagnosed with lymphedema in her right leg, which could possibly spread to her left leg at a later stage.
“Lanelle is an iron lady and wonderful mother to our children. She has always had an active lifestyle and held the fort when I had to be on the road for work. Lymphedema has significantly changed her life,” says the musician who is best-known for his role in the Afrikaans drama, Song vir Katryn, and hits like Sonvanger and Eyeshadow.
As a result of her diagnosis, which will worsen over time, the active fifty-one-year-old mother – who still studies and enjoys hiking, swimming and travelling – plans for the future have been severely affected.
Pain, discomfort, strenuous treatments and exercise, as well as a strict diet have become her new reality… and travelling (which is essential for Valiant’s career) is now an unpleasant and tiring experience.
“My wife has to permanently wear uncomfortable, restrictive compression socks to prevent her legs from swelling and her condition from deteriorating. She also has to do special exercise every morning, without exception, to prevent swelling, pain and complications. Despite her disciplined exercise program and diet, she still experiences constant pain and discomfort, which makes normal things like driving exhausting,” he shares.
Fortunately, she has never been one to give up, and decided to fight back against this horrible disease.
After thorough research, they discovered that there is a micro-surgical procedure overseas to treat lymphedema. However, there are only a handful of institutions and surgeons who specialize in this treatment, and they were fortunate enough to find a highly regarded American specialist in Cleveland, Ohio, who wants to start treatment early in 2022.
“Lymphedema affects all aspects of my life. Apart from chronic swelling, pain and discomfort, it also affects my immune system and can lead to life-threatening bacterial infection. The worst for me is the fear that I might lose my mobility. This operation will give me a chance to function normally because it creates an alternative drainage route for the lymph, which helps to slow down tissue change and reduces the risk of infection,” says Lanelle.
The problem is that the procedure costs a small fortune, not to mention travel and accommodation expenses (before, during and after the operation).
To raise money for Lanelle’s treatment, the couple plans to host two auctions in the Cape and Gauteng – in collaboration with WOES.
“We would like to have two live auctions early in 2022. It will also be live-streamed at the same time to ensure a larger audience and provide an excellent advertising platform to advertisers,” Valiant explains.
In addition to performances by well-known artists, valuable Valiant Swart memorabilia will also be auctioned, including Jinx (his character in Song for Katryn)’s guitars (mounted in wooden display cases); a limited number of new electric guitars; handwritten and framed lyrics of hits like Songvanger, Die Mystic Boer, Eyeshadow and Duisend Myl Blues; the last remaining bottles of Mystic Boer brandy; signed framed photographs; artwork, and more.
“When Kobie from Vonk Musiek approached us to help raise funds for Lanelle, we immediately agreed,” says Jaco van Dyk, one of the founding members of WOES. “We would like to generate as much money as possible, as the couple still has a very uncertain road ahead of them.”
Funds will also be raised in three other ways:
1) The sale of advertising space on WOES’s online auction page;
2) Donations by individuals and institutions; and
3) Raffle tickets for prizes like a holiday, hunting weekend, golf package, spa getaway, fishing trip, wine, meat, beauty treatments and more.
“WOES was established at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to help artists, but has expanded rapidly to schools and other institutions,” Jaco explains. “We have already done ninety programs, including two ‘Ons Sal Self’ concerts (in association with Coleske Artists and Vocal Events) and two ‘Red Die Boer Restaurant’ concerts that made a big difference. Viewers enjoy the program because it gives them the opportunity to make a difference. We do what we love and are grateful that we are able to help as many people as possible in the process.”
The Gauteng auction will take place on 27 January 2022 at the The Blue Crane Restaurant in Pretoria.
Businesses and individuals who would like to make donations, sponsor prizes, buy advertising space or get involved can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“I am already doing everything in my power to control the condition and have made several big lifestyle changes, but unfortunately this is not always enough, and I live with the constant fear that my other leg may also be affected. There are no guarantees that the operation will be a success, but it is my only hope, and we are grateful to everyone who has already gone out of their way to help raise funds for the procedure,” Lanelle concludes.
Tickets to attend the concert and auction will be available from Tixsa at https://bit.ly/31L2T1I.
Follow the event on https://youtu.be/_NGhGRDzRbw.
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