Walking back to happiness, thanks to Dusi paddlers

2012-03-22 00:00

THE R60 000 raised by four Dusi paddlers who masterminded the “paddle for a limb” initiative has paid for three artificial limbs.

They are for disabled women Dolly Mncwabe and Nontobeko Mkhwanazi and a disabled man, Justice Khwela.

Mncwabe, who is from KwaXimba in Cato Ridge, already has her new limb, but the other two recipients are still having theirs made and fitted.

The process is expected to be completed in two weeks.

Mncwabe said the amputation of her left leg in September 2010 as a result of diabetes had prevented her from doing most things.

She was ecstatic at getting the prosthetic leg free of charge.

“I will now be able to walk around and do chores around my home,” Mncwabe said as she took a few steps on her new leg to get used to it.

One of the paddlers involved in the fund-raising effort, Clint Lawson, said they were delighted to have raised enough money to pay for three prosethetic limbs, and were “on the way” to funding a fourth.

But he added that there were at least eight other amputees who need limbs, so the challenge is not over.

While they have not yet decided what the next challenge should be, he and his team-mates, Craig Gibson, Craig Wright and Shane Wright, are interested in taking part in the “Canvas Dusi” marathon.

The Canvas Dusi, which takes place before The Unlimited Dusi, was established in 2001 to commemorate the Dusi Marathon’s Golden Jubilee and mirrors the first race in 1951 using replica canvas and wooden rudderless canoes.

The first person to have paddled the Dusi route was Ian Player in 1950.

The following year it became a race between Player and seven other paddlers, and Player was reportedly the only one to finish the race in six days, according to a report in The Witness.

The “paddle for a limb” canoeists, who have about 35 years’ experience between them as paddlers, took to the waters of The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon 2012 in a bulky K4 canoe sponsored by Husqvarna South Africa and with a goal to raise money to help the needy.

Lawson said they had initially decided to target children as the beneficiaries of the project, but no children had so far been identified for artificial limbs.

The paddlers wanted to help change the lives of underprivileged people and felt that by donating the prostheses they would be giving back something to the people of the Dusi Valley.

Craig Wright’s family-owned prosthetics business in Pietermaritzburg undertook to make and fit the articifial limbs.

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