Irene van Dyk will return to Hamilton today to prepare for Sunday's ANZ Netball Championship final that she plans to help "win for my mum".
The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic goal shoot helped seal the finals berth with a stunning display against the Northern Mystics in Monday night's preliminary final - despite knowing her "beautiful mum", also Irene, had died of cancer earlier that day.
"Christie [husband] called me with the news, we knew Mum wasn't well but that doesn't make it any easier," van Dyk told the Times yesterday.
Mrs van Dyk was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2010 and since then her youngest daughter has returned to the family home at Meyerton, 30 kilometres south of Johannesburg, on several occasions to visit.
"I was just really comforted to know that Mum had passed away in her sleep and that she is now free from pain. My sister, Janita, and brother, Harry, were with her which was so good to know - she really loved her family so much," she said.
Van Dyk lost her father, Herman, 20 years ago when he died from a heart attack. "I think of them together now watching me play netball from the comfort of their chairs - they would want me to keep playing so that's what I must do. Noels [Magic coach Noeline Taurua] said to us on Monday we have to play for today - play for those in our families who had passed - including Mum - and not hold anything back, we didn't need any more incentive to win that game."
Team-mates rallied to support van Dyk while online comments from fans have seen an outpouring of support for the 40-year-old.
"The support has been amazing, I am so overwhelmed by it all, I just want to say thank you to everyone for their love and understanding." Van Dyk will fly to Melbourne on Saturday where the Magic hope to beat the in-form Melbourne Vixens and, in doing so, secure their first ever ANZ Championship title. She will return with the team to New Zealand on Monday morning before flying out to South Africa with her daughter, Bianca, on Tuesday.
Mrs van Dyk will be buried in her hometown of Meyerton at the end of next week.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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