Offers of help for narcolepsy sufferer

2013-03-22 00:00

NARCOLEPSY sufferer Callie Calitz, who came to Pietermaritzburg earlier this year seeking treatment for his bizarre sickness, may eventually find relief.

Calitz suffers from narcolepsy, catalepsy and sleep apnoea.

His story, published in Monday’s Witness, has touched the hearts of many readers in Pietermaritzburg.

Calitz’s disorder means he can drop off to sleep anytime and anywhere and he had to give up his 25-year job as a teacher.

He cannot drive a car or do anything that could endanger others. The medication to treat the rare disease costs a small fortune and his medical aid, the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS), says he does not qualify for chronic medication.

But since the story was printed, two people have offered Calitz free alternative health treatments if he comes back to Pietermaritzburg.

Others have come forward to share stories of their experiences with the same disorder and to offer support.

GEMS has begun to look into its policies to see if there is a solution and the state is also committed to trying to find a solution to his problem.

Patrick Steyn, Calitz’s brother-in-law, said: “We were beyond desperate and Callie’s life was a living hell … now at least we have hope again.”

• trish.beaver@witness.co.za

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