Durban University of Technology student Channelle Coetzee, 23, witnessed her grandmother’s agonising pain when she was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.
Channelle supported her grandmother though her journey back to health, as she went through radiation therapy. Although it was a very tough time for Coetzee, she was able to discover her passion through her grandmother’s painful experience.
However, her pain was not in vain because on Thursday 19 April, she will stand in line to receive her national diploma in Radiography and graduate Cum Laude and receive the Dean’s Merit Award.
“I worked at a golf resort in Florida (USA) in 2007 and 2008. During that time my grandma, who was diagnosed with cancer, was going for radiation therapy. It was a very tough time for me but through that I was able to discover my passion. I came back to South Africa and enrolled for a course in Radiography,” she said.
Coetzee’s problems did not start there. After matriculating in 2006, she faced financial constraints which posed a great challenge. What followed was a two-year period of employment, but still, her financial troubles had not been sorted. She borrowed money to pay for her first year tuition fees from her uncle. Even though she had not a clue as to how she would pay for the next two years she took the plunge.
Miraculously, Lake, Smit and Partners visited DUT to alert first year students about available bursary opportunities. Upon hearing this Coetzee quickly applied for the bursary. Her application was successful but conditional.
For each year Lake, Smit and Partners were to pay for her fees, Coetzee had to attain an aggregate of 60 percent and above. She excelled throughout the course and Lake, Smit and Partners reimbursed her first year’s tuition. She, in turn repaid her uncle.
Looking back, Coetzee is amazed at how everything panned out. “I’m very surprised and proud to receive such esteemed awards,” Coetzee managed to utter amidst her surprise. “My parents will definitely be surprised but I hope they’ll be proud of me,” she added.
Born and bred in Umkomaas, Coetzee who had lived under her mother’s supervision her entire life moved to Glenwood, to be closer to DUT. Living alone was tough but it taught her discipline and independence, she said.
Losing her grandmother to cancer in 2010 left Coetzee “disheartened” but the tragedy did not sway her focus on her studies. She could never work in advance; she always produced the best results when working under pressure.
Coetzee is currently doing community service at Maternity Hospital in Umfolozi, eMpangeni. She finds her career extremely rewarding.
“Without the love and support of my family, my lecturers: Mrs Allie, Mrs Swindon and Mr Gam and my bursary with Lake, Smit and Partners my studies would not have been possible,” she said.
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