Born on 21/4/05, Nombulelo Tshbalala—”Buli” to us—didn’t have an easy beginning to her life. Her mom, Khosi, noticed from very early that she wasn’t well. Her lips were always turning blue and she often struggled to breathe.
Khosi rushed her to Baragwaneth Hospital, where her doctors diagnosed her as having a congenital heart defect—a ventricular septal defect and closed pulmonary artery. While the surgeons at Baragwaneth Hospital were able to repair Buli’s heart at much less than what a private hospital would have charged, Khosi still could not afford the R48,000 it would have taken to heal her daughter.
The fact that both Khosi and her husband, Mandla, were unemployed made this completely impossible.
Healthcare workers, moved by Buli’s plight, suggested that the WSPCCA be contacted to see if the unit had capacity to save Buli’s life. Thanks to funds donated by The Vodacom Foundation, Buli was able to be transported to Netcare Sunninghill Hospital via Netcare 911 and she was operated on immediately. The ventricular septal defect was closed and the closed pulmonary artery was repaired, and Buli was returned to ICU at Bara for recovery before being discharged home.
Today, Buli is a changed child. Her mom says that she is very noisy, stubborn, talkative and extremely active, which she would not have been without the life-saving surgery. She loves her McDonalds and, given the chance, will play non-stop from 6am to 7pm.
She visits the WSPCCA every year and is doing extremely well.