Since 2009, Pastor Japie van Kampen has been at the helm of the Newcastle Baptist Church, guiding the congregation with God’s teachings and offering solace to those seeking spiritual fulfilment.
Sadly, the pastor now finds himself in a challenging situation, reaching out for help from the Newcastle community as he wages a battle against rectal cancer.
Pastor Japie was diagnosed in June 2020, shortly after South Africa went into lockdown after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Reflecting on the moment he received the news, the Pastor candidly shared, “At first, it is confusion, you don’t know what to expect. You had this idea that it might be cancer, but it might not be. I first thought I had haemorrhoids. Then comes shock, and the doctor asks if you have any questions, but you don’t. Then reality sinks in.”
Due to the cancer, Pastor Japie’s health has taken a considerable hit. Now, three years post diagnosis, sitting has become an arduous task, and even standing poses challenges. Walking is a slow and laborious process, and Pastor Japie uses a walking aid for assistance. The constant, intense pain further compounds his ordeal, he told Newcastillian News.
Yet, amidst these formidable challenges, his paramount aspiration is to honour God and continue ministering for as long as possible.
His son, Stephan van Kampen, a devoted member of the congregation, noted that Pastor Japie delivers his sermons without fail every Sunday.
In his dual role of battling cancer and spreading the Word of God, Pastor Japie is truly fighting a personal war, one that necessitates unwavering support. Unfortunately, his medical insurance doesn’t suffice to cover the entirety of his cancer treatment expenses.
Commenting on his father’s approach to the diagnosis, Stephan revealed, “For three years, my dad pursued alternative treatment due to challenges with his hospital plan. Having devoted his entire life to ministry, he always trusted God to provide for all our needs. Our needs were substantial, but consequently, he couldn’t afford comprehensive medical aid. Fortunately, he has since managed to secure a better hospital plan, but it does not cover much.”
Following his father’s diagnosis, Stephan recounted how God intervened through an acquaintance, affording Pastor Japie the chance to consult a highly esteemed oncologist.
However, the treatment costs proved prohibitive, and Pastor Japie was not entirely convinced by the prognosis at the time.
Turning to alternative avenues, the Pastor eventually returned to the oncologist, this time under the care of Dr Nkanyiso Zwane, a medical practitioner who brought oncology services in Newcastle.
Upon reviewing CT scans taken after nearly three years, Pastor Japie expressed his relief, sharing, “The doctor told me that I was a lucky man.”
While the cancer had remained confined to his pelvis, it had not spread throughout his body. However, Pastor Japie revealed that the cancerous growth had infiltrated his anus, affecting his bladder and prostate.
Moreover, Dr Zwane highlighted a window of opportunity for treatment, leading to the commencement of chemotherapy.
With medical expenses escalating and Pastor Japie’s existing coverage capped at R250,000, of which R220,000 had already been expended on chemotherapy with six more sessions ahead, the assistance for financial support is evident.
Additionally, the costs of essential bloodwork, necessary supplies like nappies, and pain relief further burdened the situation.
With all this adding up to large sums of money, Stephan said the doctor suggested that their family start a fundraiser. This led him to create a BackaBuddy campaign to help his father.
With Pastor Japie undergoing treatment resulting in the tumour shrinking, and the Newcastle Baptist Church doing as much as it could for him and his family, the financial costs of his treatment are such that he needs the community to help.
If anyone can assist Pastor Japie in his quest to overcome rectal cancer, they can access the BackaBuddy by clicking here.
As Pastor Japie soldiers on, delivering his spiritual messages while battling cancer, the question remains: Will you offer your support to him and his family during this time of need?
Feel free to share your perspectives in the comments section below.