“It is the difference we make in the life of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” Nelson Mandela.
Neliswa Ntunja is a 37 year old single mother from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. In 2017, my daughter Banoyolo bled through her nose until she got pale and I took her to the clinic. The clinic referred us to the nearest hospital where we were admitted. She was given blood and the Doctor was about to discharge her, but the bleeding through her nose started once again.
The Doctor consulted with a specialist about Banoyolo’s condition. He then referred us to another hospital where they did blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy. When the results came back, I was told that my child had Aplastic Anaemia and that she needed a bone marrow donor. This came as a nightmare for me as I was not a match and could not donate the bone marrow to her. Right now I cannot be employed as I have to be at the hospital with her.
It is so difficult for me to understand that my child needs bone marrow; her blood count becomes low. I have been crying every time when I think of her condition.I have taken a decision to inform people about children’s cancer and blood disorders. It is important to look out for our children and love them. Let us encourage people to be organ donors. The situation makes one feel helpless, but we need to make people aware and do whatever we can, to heal our children.
I stay 192 kilometres away from the hospital. When a child is sick, they are admitted to the hospital and not the mother. Imagine me having to travel 192 kilometres daily for three years while my child is in treatment. Luckily in my situation this did not happen as a CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA has a house close to the hospital. This is where I stayed while Banoyolo is on treatment. They give us nice food and care for us a lot. They also help me with the transport costs every time I want to go home because I am not working and money is scarce and if I did not have their transport money I would not be able to come back.
CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa has twelve accommodation facilities close to childhood cancer treatment centres across the country. This Mandela day they are asking companies and individuals for help by donating cash or items listed on their various regional wish lists which can be found on www.choc.org.za or contact their National office on 086 111 3500 / email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The year 2018 marks a 100 years since the birth of our country’s greatest leader, Nelson Mandela. In celebrating his centenary, I encourage all South Africans to continue his legacy of giving. Whether you get involved with CHOC or any other organisation, giving to a good cause is something I encourage all of us to do, not only on Mandela Day, although of course it is the easiest time to give to all nonprofits running various initiatives, let us remember that they do need our help throughout the year to sustain the help they render to their beneficiaries.