Early on Sunday 15 December the news of the death of the daughter of former Springbok coach, Peter de Villiers and his wife Theresa, were not only that of sadness but of inspiration and hope to many.
Odille Monk (28), wife of Scott Monk, died in hospital after a year-long battle with cancer. In October 2018 Odille was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in her chest, but because the cancer was too close to some of her vital organs, doctors could not operate on her.
De Villiers explained that Odille had a constant cough which she got checked out. He explained that doctors at first thought she had TB but after test and scans were done she was diagnosed with cancer.
“We walked the same path most people walk with cancer. Maybe out of ignorance or because of hope. We lived in that hope and there were ups and downs. The end of the long struggle is where we are today. Till the end we still hoped because she was radiant till the end. My child did not die of cancer, my child died because of the treatment she received for the cancer, because her body could not fight any more. The treatment killed the good sells in her body,” De Villiers said.
On Tuesday as many mourners went to sympathise with Scott and the De Villiers family, a woman who was also diagnosed with cancer told the family how Odille has inspired her to live everyday as if it were her last.
Scott, who married Odille on 20 December 2018, said that on their wedding day, Odille was like someone who did’t have cancer, who did not go through treatment at the time.
“I am not much of a dancer, she is a dancer. We had our first dance and it was amazing and she spent the rest of the night on the dance floor, as if there was nothing wrong with her,” he remembers.
According to Scott he is overwhelmed with all the messages he is receiving after Odille’s passing – messages of how Odille inspired people even in her death, messages of how she gave them hope.
“In the first half of her diagnoses, she was riding on our faith and our belief, but the harder it became and coming to the end, we were riding on her faith. The faith that she all of a sudden had, the belief, the inspiration she became to us – to me that was tremendous. Despite everything she was going through she became my inspiration. She became my purpose, my life revolved around her,” Scott said.
Odille was seen by many as a fighter, someone who didn’t let her diagnoses define her. Messages on social media, talks about how her laughter, her brave fighting spirit touched the lives of many.
“This last year, despite the cancer, we both lived our life and that was what she wanted. Yes, she was in pain, but she still just wanted to get out and do things. Not once did she ever give up. She was there until the very end.”
Scott said that they believed that Odille was going to make it, but that God had a different plan.
“One thing that I hear from people is that her purpose was fulfilled.” He said that he does not want the inspiration she was to others to stop here.
Scott explained that Odille phoned him on Saturday from hospital and told him she made arrangements with the nursing staff for him to be with her in hospital.
“I sat with her the majority of the Saturday and we were talking. I bought her a book she wanted, but she could’nt hold the book up to read it, she was tired. She asked me to read to her. We were watching TV, we had happy moments together. Her parents joined later. Yes, she was tired and there was weakness, but we had laughter. We left with smiles and laughter. On the stroke of midnight I got a call that she was struggling to breath and we went to the hospital.”
Odille died shortly before the family arrived at the hospital.
“She was my everything and going forward I know it is going to be tough. It is like my purpose has been taken away,” Scott said.
Odille’s funeral service will take place on Friday 20 December the day she was suppose to celebrate her wedding anniversary.
The service will start at 10:00 at Church on the Rock in Louws Avenue, Southern Paarl.
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