SA swimming sensation Ryk Neethling took to the pool recently in a bid to raise awareness for children living with haemophilia. The initiative was in partnership with the South African Haemophilia Foundation and pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.
“Swimming is a non-contact sport,” says Tanya Nel, Novo Nordisk’s Head of Biopharm. “This means the risk of injuries is very low - and who better to coach the kids than a role model like Ryk? The experience created lasting memories for the children, and their parents who were there to offer support.
Participating children were all patients at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and Tygerburg Hospital in Cape Town and were educated on how to have fun in safe ways that prevent them from harming themselves.
Many challenges for those with haemophilia
Haemophilia is a bleeding disorder which usually presents only in males, compromises the ability of the blood to clot, and can result in excessive bleeding after an injury or surgery or even in spontaneous bleeds. It is a genetic disorder passed on by female carriers, and their male children may or may not inherit the condition. Similarly, their female children may or may not become carriers or develop symptoms themselves, which is a rare occurrence in women and girls.
“To get where I am, I have had to overcome all lives challenges, including my asthma and my sister’s long struggle with cancer, a demonstration that nothing in life is impossible in life if you put your heart into it”, Ryk said in motivating the children.
(Press release, April 2012)
Symptoms and signs of haemophilia