In memoriam: Rafael Moraes battled bravely against Neuroblastoma for nearly eight years before the cancer dealt its final fatal blow
Rafael Moraes (Haffa)
25/03/2004 – 16/12/2015
A cancer patient once said, cancer is path with one final destination, Death. But there are two ways of looking at it — over the edge or by the donkey’s trail.
Rafael also took the scenic route – ensuring that he savoured every moment of his life.
In 2008, at the age of four, Haffa was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, one of the worst types of childhood cancer — and life took a sharp turn.
His parents Maggie and Leo say that though he had his fair share of health problems –which led to him being deaf – Haffa never wanted to be centre of attention. All he wanted was to be a normal child, go to school play soccer, play video games, catch up with his friends, laugh, giggle and eat his favourite food — steak with tomato sauce.
Animals – especially his pugs and his cat — were an integral part of his life. Bubbles, his cat, shared the closet bond with him and died two days before Rafael.
In his eulogy, Mr Paul Barklamb, head of Junior School at Westbourne, called Rafael “a product of a truly remarkable family”.
“His life was short but he lived brilliantly,” said Peter McCallum Cancer Centre Professor Rod Hicks, who considered Haffa his fourth son. “Some doctors avoid attending funeral of their patients, they see it as manifestation of personal failure, but I can’t see it like that at all. Rafael failed the first line of chemotherapy, his prospects were bleak and options limited but he never let us stop trying. His smile and optimistic approach forbid us to that,” said Prof Hicks, who attended the funeral at Westbourne Grammar School Chapel.
“Treatments we did with him had never been tried. They always seemed to work to knock his tumour down. Over time the tumour came back with full force,” he added. But no matter how hard it was, Rafael was always ready to go again.
“He never gave up on the race, he never lacked for love or support, but he always struggled to reach the finish line. He was never alone,” said Prof Hicks.
Over 200 people – some of whom were part of the Rafael’s Warriors, a crowdfunding initiative to support the young fighter — live streamed in to the funeral from around the globe.