Coach Andre battling cancer

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Photo: Andre Van Rooyen with wife Debbie and children Sebastian and Christine soon after the family arrived in the district in July 2016.

By Mick Jensen

Respected Mid Canterbury tennis coach Andre van Rooyen has stepped back from the game to focus on serious health issues.

Van Rooyen was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer at the beginning of May.

Mid Canterbury Tennis is searching for a new coach to continue the work Van Rooyen has done to support and grow the game in the district since he arrived here three years ago.

South African born Van Rooyen moved to the district from Nelson with his wife Debbie and children Sebastian and Christine.

Debbie Van Rooyen says her husband’s diagnosis came as a huge shock to him, to the family and also the tennis and wider community who knew him.

She said because he had tested positive for the Ros 1 mutation, he was eligible for a targeted anti cancer drug called crizotinib.

Unfortunately the drug was not funded in New Zealand and it needed to be paid for privately.

The drug costs in the region of $10,000 per month.

Debbie Van Rooyen has set up a Givealittle page to help fund the cost of the drug, which her husband started on Monday.

The Givealittle page has already notched up over $22,265 in 16 days from donations from 178 people since it was set up on June 1 and has an “open” goal.

Debbie Van Rooyen said her husband continued to be passionate about all things tennis and monitored the progress and results of his young players online.

He was also keen to volunteer to support the local game in the future and for as long as his health permitted.

Donations to Andre Van Rooyen’s Givealittle page will go exclusively towards funding his medication and spending will be audited by John Heffernan of G J Accounting Ltd.