'They told my mom I wouldn't survive – now I have my matric'

By Samantha Luiz
19 January 2016

The tragedy made headlines all over the country in 2012. Phillip de Silva Abreu, a seemingly happy man shot his son, both his parents, before turning the gun on himself.

The tragedy made headlines all over the country in 2012. A seemingly happy man shot his son and both his parents, before turning the gun on himself.

His son barely survived the attack. Then 17 years old, JP Abreu, from Springs, was declared brain-dead the night after the shooting.

Doctors said there was no chance he’d recover and advised his mother Mary-Ann McCarter to switch off the machines.

JP in hospital after his dad shot him and his elderly grandparents. PHOTO: Supplied JP in hospital after his dad shot him and his elderly grandparents. PHOTO: Supplied

“She bent over me and cried all the time as she said goodbye," JP described to YOU a few months after the attack.

"I thought those were my last moments...”

But JP survived, even after the machines were switched off.

‘You came back son’: mom tells of son’s miracle recovery after being shot by dad

Even with his miraculous survival, doctors warned his mother Mary-Ann that her son would be an invalid for the rest of his life. A keen sportsman, the teenager would never be able to fulfill his dream of becoming of a soccer player.

Once a keen sportsman, JP's favourite team is Arsenal. PHOTO: Supplied Once a keen sportsman, JP's favourite team is Arsenal. PHOTO: Supplied

Despite the pessimistic diagnosis, defied the odds once again by going back to school the following year.

Now 21-years old, JP attained his matric certificate at Murial Brand School.

"It feels really good," says JP when he speak to him over the phone.

After a long recovery following the attack, JP went back to school in 2013.

The road to recovery certainly wasn't easy.

In October 2014, he underwent an operation to to replace the part of his skull that was destroyed by the bullet with a prosthesis.

A part of his skull was replaced with a prosthetic. PHOTO: Supplied A part of his skull was replaced with a prosthetic. PHOTO: Supplied

The bullet had entered his head near his right eye and exited through the back of his head, leaving his face slightly misformed.

Despite the intense procedure, JP joined his peers in writing exams a mere week later!

His hard work and dedication paid off.

Proving his doctors wrong, JP passed matric with passes in Maths literacy, Business Studies, English language, Afrikaans and Consumer Studies.

JP dressed up for his matric farewell. PHOTO: Supplied JP dressed up for his matric farewell. PHOTO: Supplied

How did his mom feel when she saw the results?

"Overwhelmed," says JP.

Mary-Ann admits that it was hard to keep her tears back.

She was "fine" when she collected the results. It was only when she went back to work that she started crying.

"They were tears of joy," explains Mary-Ann.

JP with his mom, Mary-Ann. PHOTO: Supplied JP with his mom, Mary-Ann. PHOTO: Supplied

"I couldn't hold it in," she says, adding that she was proud of her son for "managing to get this far."

Mary-Anne believes the "really great" support they've received from the school and friends has helped JP be where he is today.

Even though he's not strong enough to pursue his goal to be a soccer player, his plans aren't that far removed- he hopes to study sports management.

Mary-Ann plans to help her son fulfil his dream.

"I'll support him in whatever he wants to do."

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