Captain Courage celebrates bravery of young boys

2016-02-10 06:00
The team from Coastal Water Rescue with the young boys who took part in the Captain Courage event. At the back, standing from left are Chris Meistre, Andrew Beustre, Wayne de Lange, Cindy Ferrey, Kim Barley, Dirk Erasmus, Kirsty Marriott, Roland Francis. Adults seated from left are L eigh Shepherd, Annelise van Niekerk, Andrew Smit, Kyle Trader, Joy van der Walt, Duncan Bezuidenhout, Amy Erasmus and Suzie du Plessis . The children seated from left are Othandwayo, Ntokozo, Litha, Khanya, Thabang, Xolile, Simamkhele, Siyolwe, Lisakhanya and Aviwe. Photo: DONNA VD WATT PHOTOGRAPHY

The team from Coastal Water Rescue with the young boys who took part in the Captain Courage event. At the back, standing from left are Chris Meistre, Andrew Beustre, Wayne de Lange, Cindy Ferrey, Kim Barley, Dirk Erasmus, Kirsty Marriott, Roland Francis. Adults seated from left are L eigh Shepherd, Annelise van Niekerk, Andrew Smit, Kyle Trader, Joy van der Walt, Duncan Bezuidenhout, Amy Erasmus and Suzie du Plessis . The children seated from left are Othandwayo, Ntokozo, Litha, Khanya, Thabang, Xolile, Simamkhele, Siyolwe, Lisakhanya and Aviwe. Photo: DONNA VD WATT PHOTOGRAPHY

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TEN boys, from the Reach for a Dream Foundation, aged between 8-12 years, with life-threatening conditions were selected for a special Captain Courage project that took place recently.

The Captain Courage event aims to celebrate the bravery of young boys with life-threatening conditions, by partnering them with male role models and engaging in activities of bravery on the day.

Captain Courage is an exclusive ‘boys only’ project filled with adventurous activities to reward these children for their bravery. Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is a very challenging experience for a young child. By taking part in courageous activities, the boys are given the chance to show off their fighting spirit.

Every Captain Courage event is aimed at exposing the boys to a new environment, but more importantly it’s an opportunity for them to have fun outside of hospital with other children who have similar experiences.

“We partnered the event with the amazing volunteers of Coastal Water Rescue (CWR) who did an outstanding job in making our boys feel special, loved and the heroes of the day,” said Michelle van Huyssteen, Branch Manager of Reach For A Dream Foundation in PE.

“The boys received hands-on water safety training and were taken on Malibu’s and rescue boats into the surf of Blue water Bay beach and river mouth. Each boy was partnered with a Rescue volunteer to ensure their safety at all times, but also to encourage them to brave the ocean and help them overcome their fear of the water,” said Van Huyssteen.

“CWR medalled our boys for their bravery and they were treated with wonderful goodies that included Nitropark game vouchers and Sentratec gift bags containing treats and a specially printed honouree shirt and cap announcing them as CWR rescue swimmers,” said Van Huyssteen.

Camp Sunshine

Twice a year, around 24-30 dreamers or children with life-threatening illnesses (from disadvantaged backgrounds) are taken on Camp Sunshine.

“With budget cuts on our projects for 2016, we have had to look at alternative ways to fulfil our projects. Where it was possible to take the children to sites with cottages, beds and bedding in the past, we can no longer do that. We have found a great alternative, but it necessitates providing things like sleeping bags, pillows, camp cutlery and crockery for each child and a swimming costume,” said Van Huyssteen.

The camp takes place from February 26 to 28 and the list of items needed to make Camp Sunshine possible include the following:

• 15 sleeping bags

• 15 pillows

• 15 pillow cases

• 30 cereal bowls

• 30 knives, 30 forks, 30 cereal spoons

• 30 dish cloths

• 30 beach towels

Camp Sunshine is all about fun, laughter, making new friends and partaking in the team activities, games and sports.

“For some children a beanie on their bald head is a source of comfort, but by the time the weekend is over most children have discarded their beanies and feel totally accepted by their peers, thus enjoying everything the camp has to offer without inhibition.

“Doctors and parents report that when children return from camps, they seem happier and are able to cope better,” van Huyssteen said.

Care-givers, volunteers and Reach For A Dream staff are all on hand 24 hours a day during the camp to attend to each child’s needs and to support them.

For more info contact Michelle van Huyssteen at Reach For A Dream Foundation on 041 583 6507 or send an e-mail to michelle@reachforadream.org.za

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