Irene van Dyk will play in Sunday's ANZ Netball Championship final, a game 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 lost her battle with 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 said.
Mrs van Dyk was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2010 and since then her youngest daughter has returned several times to the family home at Meyerton, 30 kilometres south of Johannesburg, 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, who lives in Upper Hutt, lost her father, Herman, 20 years ago when he died suddenly 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 [Noeline Turua] 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," she said.
Team-mates have rallied to support van Dyk since news of her mother's death, 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 on Saturday to Melbourne, where the Magic hope to beat the in-form Melbourne Vixens, and in doing so secure their first 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 Meyerton at the end of next week.
- © Fairfax NZ News