Where are they now?

clip_image002Eunice Mathebula

In 2006 when Eunice was 14, her life changed dramatically. Having never really had health complications in the past, Eunice was surprised when she collapsed at her Mphumelanga school after a spell of “not feeling well”. She wasn’t eating, she was always tired and vomited a lot, which was major cause for concern.

She Was rushed to her doctor in Ermelo, who found that she had a problem with her heart and needed to be referred to a specialist to diagnose and treat whatever was wrong with her heart. But those skills weren’t readily available in Ermelo.

In a critical condition, Eunice was rushed to Bloemfontein, where she was diagnosed as having Rheumatic Fever and desperately needed a Mitral Valve Replacement, which could only be done in Johanesburg—and at great expense (Approx. R220,000).

Eunice, now pale in colour, made it to Sandton and saw Dr. Kinsely, who immediately admitted her to hospital and booked her surgery for the following day. But money was still an issue.

Eunice’s mother, Edith, is a domestic worker and her father is unemployed, so they did not have access to the necessary funds to pay for the operation, or even Medical Aid for that matter.

The WSPCF agreed to take on Eunice’s case and funded her surgery. After four hours under the knife and a few days in ICU, Eunice was well on her way to recovery. She’s leaps and bounds ahead of where she was all those years ago and, short of having to take medication, she has very few memories of her ordeal.

Today, Eunice loves playing netball and hopes to be a doctor one day.

clip_image002[4]Helen Mangane

According to her mother—Anna—Helen has always had health issues, from birth. She was always tired and pale in colour and it got to a point, when she was 12 years old, that she could not see a full day through without being completely exhausted.

Anna, a domestic worker, worried that Helen’s condition was getting worse, eventually took her to Pretoria Academic Hospital, where Helen was diagnosed as having an Arterial Septal Defect and needed surgery as soon as possible.

Because Helen’s father had passed away, coming up with the money to pay for the surgery was a huge challenge for her mother. But help was at hand thanks to the WSPCF, which paid for her surgery to be performed at the Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in 2008.

Since her surgery, Helen has fully recovered, but still needs to visit the hospital every few years to replace the battery in the pacemaker that was installed on her heart.

Helen also loves netball and hopes to follow a career in medicine when she is older.

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About The WSPCF

The Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Foundation (WSPCF) is a philanthropic paediatric cardiac foundation for Africa, focussing on delivering life-saving surgery for underprivileged children with congenital heart disorders from across Africa. It also aims to develop diagnostic and treatment skills amongst Africa’s medical fraternity and conducts critical research into paediatric cardiac healthcare. The cardiac surgery or intervention is undertaken at the Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa situated in Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, , as well as at Cape Town’s Netcare Christian Barnard Memorial and Red Cross Children’s Hospitals. The WSPCF was founded by Dr. Robin Kinsley in 2003, and was established as a living legacy to the late Walter Sisulu and his widow, Albertina, both of whom dedicated their lives to helping children in need.
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