15 years on and Kiara is chosen for the U/18A hockey team.

Kiara was admitted to St Joseph’s Intermediate Paediatric Facility in 2004. She was three years old and living in the Eastern Cape. Kiara was initially sent to RXH for oncology treatment. After her condition stabilised she was referred to St Joseph’s to strengthen and heal while continuing her chemotherapy treatment at RXH.

At St Joseph’s Kiara received daily nursing care, administration of medication, checking of her vital signs and routine hygiene care. St Joseph’s transported her to and from RXH for her follow up treatment and tests.  Kiara also attended the preschool in the mornings and rested in the afternoons to assist her healing process.

She stayed at St Joseph’s Home for six months receiving holistic care which was crucial to her recovery, and was then discharged back into the care of her mother.

Kiaras full recovery and success warms our hearts and delights us knowing that we offer children a “life of possibilities.” We know that overcoming health challenges takes courage, hard work and perseverance. Receiving this fantastic news that Kiara has been selected for the girls U/18 A Eastern Province team delights us all.

 

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”Helen Keller

 

 

 


A colourful story of hope

Cynthia Lakay had TB of the spine and was a patient at St Joseph’s Hospital from 2001 to 2002.  Today she leads an independent life and continues her business administration studies. 

“St Joseph’s Home taught me to be independent and I live in my own flat. I have learnt life skills and have even learnt to speak Afrikaans. They gave me hope” says Cynthia

On 23 March 2013 she gave birth to her son, Angelo. Little did she know, that a disaster awaited her.  He son Angelo was involved in a freak accident and was admitted to Red Cross Children’s Hospital and later referred to St Joseph’s.

He was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, after minor trauma to his spine. Transverse myelitis is a condition in which a section of the spinal cord becomes inflamed. During an inflammatory response the myelin, or protective fatty coating on nerve cells, is damaged or destroyed, resulting in weakness or paralysis, pain, and sensory dysfunction. Autonomic, or involuntary activities such as breathing, digestion, heartbeat and reflexes can also be affected. Part of Angelo’s thoracic spine (middle of the spinal cord), has been affected. This has resulted in paralysis of part of his trunk and legs, slight weakness in his upper limbs and has affected his bowel and bladder function. On admission he was unable to sit without support and arrived in a buggy, which provided maximum support.

He received regular Physiotherapy and OT to address his areas of weakness. His balance while sitting improved and he progressed to a self-propelling wheelchair. During this time, he attended the St Joseph’s Special School on the premises.

“While at St Joseph’s Angelo was so special and a charismatic and charming young man who was always motivated to get better. His positive energy was contagious and is definitely his biggest asset in overcoming his physical limitations” said occupational therapist, Asgeree Dalvie.

He improved and was able to sit at a table, and engage in fine motor activities. He was then discharged and moved back to his mother’s house.

 

 


This young girl survives the fire and finds healing and love

Read a story of hope… shared on Mandela Day.

A young barely recognizable little girl arrived  at St Joseph’s Intermediate paediatric facility on 13 January 2017 after sustaining extensive burns across her body and predominantly to her arms and face.

Her name, Lee-Hansay. She had a history of cardiac defects, foetal alcohol syndrome and complex social issues. Lee-Hansay was unable to speak or eat and refused any food as a result of long-term nasogastric feeding. Her case was so extreme that she even struggled to tolerate food touching her. St Joseph’s began a joint therapy program with occupational and speech.

The turn-around began and Lee-Hansay started to tolerate certain food orally. She was also encouraged to try and eat and drink by herself. Many problems had to be overcome but even drinking liquids was problematic because when she swallowed it would go into her lungs.

Therapy continued and it took months for Lee-Hansay to be able to eat a full bowl of porridge or puree. She is a brave and courageous girl and she later insisted on eating the full ward diet of rice, meat and vegetables.  Although she continued the battle with liquids, she managed small sips of water, via a spoon and showed improvement in her swallowing coordination.

The battle to get Lee-Hansay off nasogastric tube feeding continued, and the therapists persisted with treatment. She continued therapy to encourage speech and language development and showed drastic improvement, far beyond what would be expected of a little girl who has been through so much trauma.

After months of speech therapy Lee-Hansay was able to understand what others said to her and she could follow simple instructions. She was soon able to imitate words and could use basic words spontaneously. Her favorite was to try to join the other children in the sing-alongs.

St Joseph’s worked together with Red Cross Children’s Hospital (RCCH) which is in possession of a state- of- the-art laser machine which reduces the appearance of scars. After a course of six sessions it produced quick visible results. As a beneficiary of the Phoenix Foundation, Lee- Hansay also had some laser surgery which helped flatten the scars on her face.

Lee-Hansay is a delightful child and her courage and perseverance brought hope and joy to everyone at St Joseph’s.  In just less than a year everyone said their goodbyes to Lee-Hansay.  She left in the loving arms of a single mom in George and is blossoming! That’s the two of them in the featured image,.

This story is  shared by Michaela Purchase– speech therapist at SJH. Please feel free to share on Social Media in support of the work we do.

 

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