I want to leave something tangible for our children

"I don't know if I will be alive in a year's time. But I'd rather have that uncertainty than the certainty that I won't be alive in five years."

Marc de Hond gave this interview in January 2020. He passed away on 3 June 2020.

Presenter and theatre maker Marc de Hond (42) says it firmly. Without hesitation. At the long wooden table in his living room, we talk about last year. At the end of 2018, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Marc underwent chemotherapy and had his bladder removed. "How I am doing is a snapshot. There is energy in the engine again. At the same time, I'm just one CT scan away from a nasty situation."

No depressive thoughts
Marc has muscle-invasive bladder cancer with metastasis in the lymph nodes. "I can't assume it's done now. There will undoubtedly be more treatments and options to do something about it. I don't have to accept that I will die sooner than I want to, but I have accepted that there is a chance. But I can also be the lucky one. That the cancer thinks, 'Actually, this guy is quite nice'."

He says he naturally has a substance in his body that takes away depressive thoughts. "Of course there are moments of sadness and fear, but I give them a place together with my wife Remona. We are rarely in the doldrums at the same time, so we pull each other out. Or we discuss who in our environment can do that. My father is very good at looking at the ratio. With my youngest brother I can make jokes or talk about other things. That kind of support is indispensable.

Enjoyment moments
Marc does not have a huge bucket list of things he still wants to do. The number one is definitely at the top. "I want to bring our children Livia (3) and James (1) to adulthood. If things go wrong in the next few years, I won't be able to do my job as a father. I would find that worthless. At least I am not wasting my time. This summer I am going to Tokyo to report on the Paralympic Games. Then the family will come along. Those are moments of pleasure.

Visual document
He is now experiencing these moments of pleasure in the theatre. Until 25 April, he is giving 29 performances with the title 'Voortschrijdend Inzicht' (Progressive Insight). Once intended as a regular theatre show, it has now degenerated into a visual document for Livia and James. "I asked myself in the autumn whether it felt right to perform the programme I wrote a year and a half before. The answer was 'no'."

Marc had an idea that he was much more enthusiastic about. "My mother, who died of cancer when I was three years old, recorded a cassette tape for me just before her death. A while back I spoke to a woman with breast cancer. She told me that she had already written congratulatory cards for all her children's upcoming birthdays. This gave me the idea of telling my life story in 29 evenings. From my career as a wheelchair basketball player, the few days I was an internet millionaire, to the blunders I made with my first girlfriends. My show starts with a 15-minute conference about the past year (click here for the playlist), after which I will be interviewed by various Dutch celebrities, such as Eva Jinek and Paul de Leeuw. The higher purpose is clear: I want to leave something tangible behind for our children. We record everything, so they can look back at it if they want to. And if it's not necessary in the end, I'll watch it with them.

"Scientists have come so far that, based on your tumour and your DNA outside your body, they can test how likely it is that chemotherapy will work. That did not happen to me. I received chemotherapy, but it had no effect whatsoever. I wouldn't accept that the next time. Can't we move towards a healthcare infrastructure in which you only receive chemotherapy if it has a high chance of working? That there is a treatment for everyone at the right tumour level? Now you have to sound the alarm if you want something. I do that too, because I do everything in my power to be able to make the best choice. Unfortunately, this is not possible for everyone.