Mom of terminally-ill six-year-old overwhelmed by kindness of strangers

By admin
30 April 2016

Chadé van Niekerk's story touched hearts across the country – and when Kfm presenter Ryan O'Connor heard about the six-year-old's plight, he knew he had to do something.

Terminally-ill Chadé van Niekerk's story touched hearts across the country – and when Kfm presenter Ryan O'Connor heard about the six-year-old's plight, he knew he had to do something. 

The popular presenter of Cape Town radio station's breakfast show admitted the little girl's struggle had reduced him to tears. "I myself am the father of a daughter, who is almost a year old," said Ryan.

"If I have to think that something like her could happen..."

An emotional scene played out on Ryan's show on Friday, when he told Chadé's mother Charlotte the breakfast team had managed to arrange accommodation in Cape Town for her and her family, as well as flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town, where Chadé' is being treated at Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

"I am so grateful! The Lord is so great! He sent angels on our way," Charlotte told YOU afterwards. "We all cried together."

Doctors predicted she would not live more than about six years. Doctors predicted she would not live more than about six years.

About a year ago, Chadé van Niekerk of Birchleigh in Kempton Park was diagnosed with visceral myopathy. Since then she’s been in hospital so much she’s had to cut short her Grade 1 year.

The rare condition which affects the functioning of the digestive tract and muscle tissue, and prevents food being properly absorbed by the body. At the time, doctors then predicted she would not live more than about six years.

"I just knew she had to get help," Ryan told YOU. "It broke my heart. Life is so fragile. "

"When someone is in need, it has been my experience that people usually come forward and help. There are so many positives in the world."

Charlotte was eventually fired from work, allegedly because she had to take so much time off to care for her daughter. Charlotte was eventually fired from work, allegedly because she had to take so much time off to care for her daughter.

Single mom Charlotte has been battling financially, after she was fired because she had to take so much time off work to care for her daughter.

Charlotte has opened a case against her former employer with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration – but at the moment, her daughter is her first priority.

“The doctors [in Johannesburg] have no answers anymore but at the Red Cross there’s a paediatrics professor who knows everything about the condition and can help,” Charlotte said earlier.

Read more: Mom pleads for help for her sick daughter: ‘The doctors don’t have anymore answers’

“She’s in the hospital and the professor [paediatrician Professor Alp Numanoglu] has seen us. They’ve also found a number of other things wrong with her,” Charlotte said.

Doctors are now carrying out a series of tests. At this stage they know the condition has affected her oesophagus, which complicates her already difficult feeding situation.

Charlotte and Chadé's five-year brother, Juan Pierre, will fly back to Johannesburg on Wednesday, where Juan Pierre will remain at his grandfather.

Doctors are very worried about Chadé's weight. She now weighs 17 kg, but she should be at least 20 to 25 kilograms. Doctors are very worried about Chadé's weight. She now weighs 17 kg, but she should be at least 20 to 25 kilograms.

Charlotte's case of alleged unfair dismissal will be heard Thursday. After that, it's back to Cape Town for Charlotte, where Chadé will have to remain in hospital for the next three to four weeks for tests.

“She’s very emotional,” the worried mom explained. “She’s not really eating and drinking.”

"Doctors are very worried about Chadé's weight. She now weighs 17 kg, but she should be at least 20 to 25 kilograms, "she said.

Read more: Mother breaks her own daughter’s legs over 300 times to avoid amputation

Her daughter is in a lot of pain, but doctors are giving her morphine to help her manage it.

"The disease is incurable. Doctors try to make her as comfortable as possible," Charlotte says. At first, he mother of two couldn;t bring herself to tell her daughter she was dying.

"Initially we did not say anything to her; later I said, 'You are a very, very sick girl.' "

Chadé finally heard the whole truth from her doctors.

Charlotte eventually told her: "You must not be afraid to die," to which the little girl responded, "It's okay. You can say I'm going to die, but I believe Jesus will heal me."

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