My desire to help gives me purpose in life

Recently Naadia Vaseer shared her story as a cancer survivor who fought against the challenges (with no guidance on how to face the uncontrollable pain that comes with chemotherapy) with me. Now I would like to share it with the ROLLING readers.

After a mammogram scan led to a breast cancer diagnosis, Naadia Vazeer underwent chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatment. She turned to her children and sister for help in dealing with the difficult side effects. Later, she started her own support group for other women with cancer.

“The thing that gives me power and strength is my desire to help others,” she says. “It makes me feel more in control. It gives me a purpose in life. I forget about being scared.”

Doctors told her that her chances of survival were slim, but she proved them wrong and recovered after extensive treatment. She notes: “Every day is beautiful and I’ve learned to look at things as blessings; things that I used to just take for granted. The shoes I put on my feet; the hot water when I take a bath; every single aspect of my life is a blessing.”

“After leaving a marriage of 18 years to a CEO, with four kids and no job experience, I had a deep sense of a void, combined with financial fears. I had never worked, living in the prestigious northern suburbs of Jozi. I had no formal work experience, but I have a brain, a tigress of a brain, an overzealous brain that took me away from the madding crowd, as it spun on, fiercely, driving me to speak my mind.

“I realised that I had to sell my ability, my intellectual property. I love writing and drew up an unconventional CV that landed me two interviews with two companies, which resulted in two job offers. I worked until critical ill health made it illogical to carry on, but I will continue [in a new direction], as I intend publishing a book about my journey,” Naadia explains.

She plans to share the story of her cancer battle and her other journeys through her novel.

She believes it’s important for women to have an annual mammogram.

“I hope to provoke thought and encourage women to have their annual mammograms, as early detection could make the difference between life and death. My cancer has spread from the breast area. It is currently in stage four in my left ribs and lumbar spine. There is no cure … it will spread all through my organs. I intend to try to prolong my life span with happiness and writing my book. For I’m my own commodity,” Naadia concludes.

The ROLLING INSPIRATION team is thinking of Naadia. While her cancer cannot be cured, we firmly believe in miracles and that is what we wish for her – Ed.


Zain Bulbulia led the South African government delegation team to the United Nations (UN), New York, for the ratification and signing of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disability. He is currently the acting head for gender, youth and disability in the planning commission of the Premier of Gauteng. email:

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