Six-and-a-half-year-old Zachary Williams leaned into his mom’s hug one last time before walking up the steps to his brightly decorated class to start Grade 1 at a primary school in the Cape Town suburb of Bellville.
Lee-Anne Scullard gave Zachary a last kiss goodbye as the bell rang, and she and his granny Sheila watched him go back to the classroom.
He had already found his seat earlier, and his bag was neatly lined up.
There was a slight bottleneck at the door as parents and guardians streamed in and out, some embarrassed that they had missed the first bell in the congestion that back-to-school brings.
Zachary waited politely as a future classmate’s dad lingered at the door to make absolutely sure his son had settled in nicely.
“Say ‘excuse me, please’,” said Lee-Anne in a stage whisper, and Zachary disappeared inside to join the teacherHis favourite things to do are swimming, jumping on the trampoline (after mom banned him from jumping on her bed and invested in one), and football.
On Tuesday night, he helped mom do the last of the seemingly endless stationery labelling, and it was off to an early night.
Asked what he was looking forward to the most, he said: “Making new friends.”He knows he is special’
After her chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, she was given the all clear after a few years, and was ready for the reimplanting procedure in 2010.
The procedure was a success and, three years later, she would give birth to a son, Zachary.
To her knowledge, Lee-Anne is the first woman in South Africa to have had a child through this intervention, which is increasingly being chosen by people receiving treatment for cancer.
“He knows he is special,” said Lee-Anne lovingly.