Sandi Pitchers Keel
Photo Credit: Sandi Pitchers Keel

Sandi Pitchers Keel, aka the Dirt Barbie, will be laid to rest this week after a year-long cancer battle; she used her time to live life to the fullest and help her fellow fighters.


Johannesburg, South Africa (13 March 2023)Sandi Pitchers Keel was known as “Dirt Barbie” and she spent decades behind the wheels of dirtbikes, KTM being her beloved brand of choice. When she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, she rallied her community and gave it her all!

We first heard about Sandi’s cancer, when she committed to cutting off her signature blonde locks to make a wig for fellow cancer patients. She snuck out of the hospital to cut her hair before treatment and donated it to be turned into a wig. The wig was donated to another cancer fighter, who had lost all her hair.

Her life changed after she had a small accident in 2021. On 17 December 2021, while travelling through the Eastern and Western Cape, Sandi’s riding partner accidentally drove into the back of her bike just outside Gariep dam. Her injuries were manageable, and the bike needed some fixing, so she spent ten days recovering at her sister’s home in Jeffreys Bay. Once all was repaired, Sandi made her way home.

On 18 January 2022, exactly one month after her accident, Sandi was admitted to Mulbarton Hospital after a weekend spent coughing, vomiting, and eventually throwing up blood. She went through a whirlwind of medical issues, from swelling due to her drip to reacting badly to medicines that sent her into anaphylaxis. Doctors were working tirelessly to figure out what was wrong. She was transferred to the Donald Gordon Hospital on the 4th of February, 2022, where she underwent three debridement operations on her arm for drip damage and a gastroscopy, which revealed an extensive infection from malnutrition.

It was only after doctors ran a series of blood tests that they realised the root of Sandi’s symptoms for which she was initially admitted. Sandi was finally diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Small Cell Carcinoma with Paraneoplastic Syndrome, a rare, aggressive cancer that started as lung cancer.

Her oncologist had given her a year, which she used to live her life to its fullest. She had set up a crowdfund to cover the costs of living with cancer, as she had become unemployed due to the disease and needed a helping hand. The campaign had raised a whopping R191,389.94 all of which was used for her care.

It was announced over the weekend, that Sandi had passed away. Thousands of South Africans, both in the motorsport industry and all the lives she touched when her cancer story was shared, have been sending condolences to her family. Her Facebook page has been filled with messages of love and remembrance.

Sandi was a woman who inspired a new generation of young girls to ride bikes and compete in the male-dominated sport. She always left people in awe of her fearless spirit and dedication to her sport.

Sandi will be missed by an entire community of dirt bikers and her loving family.

Rest in Peace Sandi.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sandi Pitchers Keel (@ktm_dirtbarbie)

Sources: Various (Linked Above) 
Don’t ever miss the Good Things. Download the Good Things Guy App now on Apple or Google
Have something to add to this story? Please share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens, or share your good news with us by clicking here or click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes there’s good news around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *