Over the years that we have been training I have always felt the need to support the less well off in some way or another. Here in South Africa there is a huge divide between the have’s and the have-not’s, and while we cannot hope to make a difference to the problem in the grand scale we might just be able to make a difference to some individuals.
My most current contribution is supporting the Excelleration Bursary Fund, designed to provide women with practical and skills based education bursaries so that they can more easily get jobs and support themselves and their families.
In 2006 we started to work with the people from Reach for a Dream. These wonderfully dedicated people work throughout the country identifying children who are terminally ill, and offering them the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. In some cases these dreams can be as simple as having a new colouring book, or bicycle. In others their dream is to meet their heros from a football team or play trumpet with the Minstrels in the Carnival.
Our contribution here was simple. We want to help these children fulfill their dreams if we can. Each member of my team contributes towards the cost of the dreams and we go as a team when we can to see the dreams fulfilled.
This process is very rewarding, but it can be extreamly emotional. We had hoped to take one child up to the top of Table Mountain to fulfill their dream but before we had a chance to do it the child died.
Below you will find some photographs of some of the dreams we have fulfilled.
Richard Mulvey Climbs Kilimanjaro to raise R70,000 for Reach for a Dream.
Bonginhlanhla Mthiyane was 16 years old and had a life-threatening heart disease. He had to regularly attend the Albert Lutuli Hospital in Durban to get his treatment and we caught up with him there.
He was away from home so much that he missed his friends and his dream was to have a cell phone of his own so that he could stay in contact. Being a 16 year old boy, he didn’t just dream about a cell phone but he had a particular phone in mind. Even in hospital it is important to keep up appearances.
We caught up with Bongi in hospital and he was delighted to have his dream fulfilled.
Xolelwa was 7 years old and suffering from Lymphoma. She was staying at the St. Joseph’s Home just outside of the Cape Town International Airport and was there for months so that she could receive treatment for her life threatening illness. Eventually she was able to go home to her mom and dad who live in Masiphumelele in Noordhoek. Her dream was for dolls and doll accessories.
This was such a simple dream to fulfil that we couldn’t wait to get it done. We visited St. Joseph’s Home on Saturday morning and we were lucky that Xolelwa’s parents were also there to share in her joy. The smile on Xolelwa’s face when she opened her presents was just so precious. Thank you for making my day Xolelwa.
Chesco’s Dream Fulfilled
Chesco Johnson was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer when he was 2 years old, and then contracted Hepatitis A and jaundice when he was 8 years old, leading to him needing a liver transplant. Chesco always dreamt of having his own trumpet and being able to play with a ‘real group’ of Minstrels. We purchased a trumpet for Chesco (with the kind assistance of Paul Bothner Music) and then organised for the Ashwin Willemse Orient Community Development Minstrels to play for Chesco at his home in Mannenberg. Chesco was a shy 18 year old, Grade 11 pupil and we had to wait for his Headmaster from Phoenix Secondary School in Mannenberg to come over before he could be encouraged to join the band.
Chesco was one of the fortunate ones in that he received a healthy liver that his own body has fully accepted. He now lives on special medicines everyday and has to go to hospital every month for additional treatment.
On a musical note, Chesco is currently playing for the 60 member strong Forever Young Big Band, that perform around the Cape.
Lusanda’s Dream Fulfilled
Five year old Lusanda Ngubo, who was suffering from a life threatening heart disease, only wanted toys as her dream. She specifically wanted colouring books and a ball. We were struck with the simplicity of this dream and wanted to make the day special for her. We all met at Ushaka Marine World and spent a wonderful morning pushing Lusanda and my grandson, Shea-Tyler, around the sights culminating with lunch at the best place for children (Spur or course). Desiree and Bev from my office were there too and together with Lusanda’s Grandmother and the people from Reach for a Dream we were quite a party.
Lusanda opened her presents at lunch and her expression as she was opening all the parcels was worth its weight in gold. Lusanda was obviously tired by the end of the day (to be honest, so was I) but she had a day to remember.
Dunyiswa’s Dream Fulfilled
Dunyiswa from Khayalitsha was suffering from Aplastic Anaemia, having to spend two days every two weeks in hospital receiving treatment for this life threatening disease. It was Dunyiswa’s dream to go on a shopping spree at the Cape TOwn Waterfront. We decided that this would be easy to arrange and while I consider shopping to be in the league of root canal treatment in my list of favourite things, watching Dunyiswa shop was in a league of its own.
We started at the top end of the children’s clothing market and were grateful to shops like Indygo’s, Jessica’s and Keedo’s who gave us substantial discounts for the clothing we bought for Dunyiswa. These shops are all very well for party outfits but what about day to day clothes? Next we made our way to Woolworths. I told Dunyiswa that we wouldn’t stop shopping until she couldn’t carry anymore. I was amazed how many carrier bags would go into those small hands.
Next stop the Two Oceans Aquarium followed by lunch for the group at Spur. For at least one day in her life, Dunyiswa felt very important and had a day fit for a princess.
Snenhlanhla’s Dream Fulfilled
Snenhlanhla was a twelve-year-old girl who suffered from heart disease and has had a double valve replacement. She has no parents and lives with her Granny in near Empangeni. Her very special dream was to own her own bed as she had never slept in a bed before being admitted to hospital.
This seemed simple enough and ‘Dial a Bed’ were very happy to sponsor the bed for Snenhlanhla. Getting the bed to her was a different matter. The logistics were solved however and my team were delighted to provide the bedding.We met Snenhlanhla at her regular visit to the hospital in Durban. She is such a lovely girl and was delighted with her new things.
The photograph is of Snenhlanhla with Desiree and Bev from my office and Gill from Reach for a Dream.