Sometimes we reporters can put our foot in it.
Like when I went to cover Cupcakes 4 Kids with Cancer giving a present to 17-year-old Robyn van Rooyen for her birthday on Saturday.
The box with pink wrapping paper was under the table when I arrived at Mug & Bean in Canal Walk to interview Robyn and take a photo.
“Right, before we start maybe we can take a photo of Robyn with her brand new laptop,” I blurted out thoughtlessly.
“It was supposed to be a surprise,” exclaimed Cupcakes 4 Kids with Cancer volunteer Elri Mienie.
But Robyn’s eyes nonetheless lit up at the sight of the laptop and lifted the mood at the table.
The remarkable girl from Atlantis laughed wholeheartedly at the misunderstanding and everyone followed her lead. She meticulously opened her present despite my faux pas, while everyone looked on.
Robyn is a two-time cancer survivor who has beat a disease that has flattened men five times her size.
Her fight against death has seen her blossom into a radiant, wise young woman.
“I would like to tell every cancer patient out there that we shouldn’t be afraid of cancer or think that it’s a death sentence. God only picks his strongest warriors to fight his toughest battles, so I’m actually honoured to have had cancer! I get to be an inspiration to other people out there who are fighting it right at this moment,” she said confidently.
“It’s awesome to see the smiles on my parents’ faces. That’s my goal in life – to see them smile.”
It quickly becomes clear that her attitude leaves a legion of smiles in her wake.
So it is just right to do something for her as well, which is why Cupcakes 4 Kids with Cancer thought they should give Robyn a choice of three presents for her recent birthday.
“I asked for either a laptop, to go on a shopping spree, or a piano,” she said.
Robyn loves writing songs, and she has even released a single on CD, which she hopes is the start to a career as a composer.
“The song’s name is ‘Thank You’ and is dedicated to all the people who have supported me during my fight.”
“Without the support of everyone I don’t think I would have been able to survive cancer twice now,” she said.
The laptop will help the grade 11 girl to catch up with her school work.
She was in hospital for the year of 2012 during her first bout with bone cancer, in and out of hospital last year, and this year she fought the second battle.
Robyn last week finished her last chemo session and is “on the road to recovery”.
Elri says she is very happy to be part of an organisation that has helped Robyn.
They also gave Robyn a R500 Canal Walk gift voucher for her birthday.
Cupcakes of Hope, which helps cancer patients of all ages, has a main fund-raising event on 27 September at 55 malls across South Africa.
It has been billed as “the sweetest way to save a life”.
The funds raised so far have helped over 250 patients by paying for medical or day-to-day living expenses. Cupcakes of Hope has also donated to 15 other charities.