“A week ago, whilst having morning coffee, our House Support staff came to me and said that she was so curious when she saw one of teenagers, Surprise, quietly and earnestly, whispering outside.

She decided to listen in and she said he was praying to God to heal his body and that when he went for radiation that morning, he will only have good news. The team cried when we heard this. A 15-year-old with such faith and hope and trust for an exceptional outcome.

The first day when Surprise had come to CHOC, was for eight weeks of radiation for a brain tumour. He and his mom needed a place to stay. On admission, his mom told us she had come all the way from Manguzi in Zululand, and she had travelled for two days to get to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.

She was exhausted and she just wanted to lay her head down. She was sad because she had left five of her children at home but she knew that Surprise had needed her and she needed to be with him.

Surprise was of concern to us because upon arrival, he went to the bathroom and when he came out, he just turned round and round in one spot and looked completely confused. We took him by the hand and led him to his mom.

This happened for a few days until the radiation kicked in and caused the tumour to shrink and alleviate pressure on his brain. As the tumour shrunk, he reverted to his original, warm, kind and intelligent self.

Surprise Gumede is the middle child of six children. He grew up in a loving extended, rural, agricultural community. He loves his siblings and is especially besotted with the youngest who is 1 year old.

His 38-year old mother Thabsile Tembe, is a loving mom and is a helicopter parent, always hovering around her child. His dad is a truck driver.

Surprise wants to be an actor and he loves acting out stories with his friends in the area. He says he is smart at school but modestly claims he is not the smartest. He also has a career choice of wanting to be an Aeronautical Engineer. He is bilingual and is a mature young man, who can reach great heights.

This young man and his mom have been at CHOC for nearly 3 months. Everyday his mom takes Surprise for radiation and every day he gets better and better.

Whilst at CHOC, his mom and him have three meals per day; a warm bed to sleep in; bathing facilities, access to a social worker; access to our programmes and consistent support from our team.

If there was no CHOC located at a treatment centre, there is the high likelihood that our beneficiaries would have no access to basic amenities and comfort; and would abandon treatment.

Meeting teens like Surprise helps us in keeping more than hope alive.”