Five-year-old burn victim the first to benefit from Pippie foundation

2013-02-22 00:00

WHEN her daughter ran into the house with her dress in flames, Katlego Maseko didn’t think their nightmare would have a happy ending.

Celiwe (5) was injured last year when a friend threw a lit match at her, setting her clothes on fire.

She ran down the street to her mother. Her back, stomach and thighs were severely burnt.

“I thought there was no hope,” said Maseko.

But within a month, Celiwe will become the first child helped by the foundation set up by the family of Pippie Kruger.

She will get a skin transplant, just like Pippie, who was operated on last June.

“I knew about Pippie, but I didn’t think it would ever happen to my child,” said Celiwe’s father, Petrus Maseko. “Now it is thanks to Pippie that my child has the chance of a normal life again.”

The foundation will pay about R240 600 for new skin, which, just like Pippie’s, will be cultured by the U.S. company Genzyme in a laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts.

Plastic surgeon Dr Riedwan Mia, who operated on Pippie and now is caring for Celiwe, said the areas of her body that were burnt were smaller than Pippie’s.

“One would think I am less nervous because I have already done the operation once,” he said.

“The fact is, I’m more nervous.”

Mia is the only doctor in the country who knows how to perform the surgery.

“The first time everything went well. I hope the second time will be just as successful,” he added.

Mia said Celiwe’s wounds were healing well and were being regularly surgically debrided to remove dead tissue.

Two samples of her skin would be sent to America to be cultured.

Pippie’s mother, Anice Kruger, said they were excited to be able to help another child.

“I had no one who could tell me what I could do and what to expect, so I’m very happy I can help another mother in this way,” she said.

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