No one could prepare Caleb and Kalala, who are severely
disabled due to multiple abnormalities in their bone structure and joints, for
the day their dream became a reality. The two charismatic brothers were
overwhelmed when they were told at a party, hosted at Netcare Sunninghill
Hospital to celebrate Caleb’s 16th birthday, that they would receive the gift
of surgery to improve their mobility.
Ebullient Caleb said
he somehow knew that this dream would become a reality before it was time for
him to enter the job market. “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to stand on
our feet. It is not about how big or small the present is but the heart behind
the gift,” Kalala told a room packed with the people who have worked tirelessly
to make the surgery possible.
Abandoned by their
parents soon after birth, Caleb (16) and Kalala (19) spent many years fending
for themselves until they were taken in by Kids Haven in Benoni, a non-profit
organisation founded in 1992 by Moira Simpson, which currently provides care
for over 200 street children.
According to Dr Mark
Eltringham, orthopaedic surgeon at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital, the brothers
suffered from multiple untreated bone and joint infections in their childhood
years, which caused severe deformities to the bones. Caleb and Kalala have been
severely handicapped and unable to walk with ease. Following a chance meeting
with Jalna le Roux, professional liaison network manager, Clinical Partners,
Netcare, a process was put into motion that would unite a number of individuals
and organisations to make their treatment possible.
Jalna was alerted to
the brothers’ plight by her niece who works as a student at Belvedere School
for children with learning disabilities. She contacted her friend, Andre
Lingenfelder, group business services manager at Netcare’s information systems
department (ISD), who rallied the ISD team and hosted a fundraising charity
ball to which ISD’s vendors were invited. This event raised R145 000 towards
the brothers’ operations. To ensure sound governance, the process and funding
are being managed by the Netcare Foundation.
The operations will be performed on 20th July 2013 by Dr
Eltringham, who is a firm believer in providing medical care to those without
access to the appropriate treatment.
Caleb’s surgery will
focus on getting his right leg, which is twisted 90 degrees, to face forward,
explains Dr Eltringham. This complex
procedure involves breaking and lengthening the bone and slowly rotating the
bone over an extended period using an external fixator. “For Kalala we will
focus on straightening his right knee, which is knobbed, by cutting the thigh
bone and securing it with a plate in the correct position”.
The teenagers’ recovery is expected to take three to six
months. “Depending on how they respond to this treatment we will decide on the
next steps, but they will most likely require several more procedures,” he
Lingenfelder says the
operation is truly a Netcare driven initiative. Netcare Sunninghill Hospital is
sponsoring the brothers’ theatre and hospitalisation costs. The hospital’s
general manager, Robert Jordaan, and his team also approached various companies
and individuals for assistance, to ensure the operations would take place.
Ampath will assist
with pathology services and blood tests, says its area manager Eleni
Giannakopoulos. Jennifer Bowles and her team at the hospital will provide
physiotherapy. “This will start before the operation with teaching the brothers
how to walk on crutches and continue for the duration of their rehabilitation,”
she says. Dr Farrell Spiro’s team in the radiology department at Netcare
Sunninghill Hospital will do the required X-rays. B. Braun is supplying the
sutures for the surgical procedures. Smith & Nephew is providing the
external fixators and products required for wound management. Lindie Henricho
from Linja Real Estate presented the brothers with Android tablets.
communications director, Kerishnie Naiker extended sincere gratitude to all who
have generously contributed to the well being of Caleb and Kalala. “A
collaborative effort such as this is truly heart-warming. We applaud Caleb and
Kalala as well as our members of staff who live the Netcare Way and have
inspired others to assist. It’s soul-uplifting to witness the determination,
appreciation and passion of these two special brothers”, she added.
Those wishing to contribute to Caleb and Kalala’s treatment
may donate money through the following account: Netcare Foundation, Nedbank
current account, Account number 1006139702, Branch code 187505. Benefactors
need to indicate clearly that the donation is specifically intended for Caleb
and Kalala, says Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager emergency, trauma,
transplant and corporate social investment.