Epic skate: pupil defies odds

2009-09-28 00:00

Doctors told a 16-year-old Treverton High pupil that he wouldn’t be able to walk for a year after he was discharged from hospital earlier this year. But by April, he was walking again, and this weekend he skateboarded down to Durban.

Dean Keague and several others took up the challenge to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of South Africa.

They planned to do the trip after exams last year, but Dean fell ill and landed up in hospital.

Dean lost all movement and control of his muscles. In hospital, he got pneumonia and a serious kidney and bladder infection. “I spent over four weeks in ICU.”

The grade 10 pupil was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a disorder in which the immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.

He spent two months at Medi-Clinic in Pietermaritzburg and was unable to walk when he was discharged. He soon made a recovery and made it back to school by the second semester. It was his fight against the disease that propelled them to go for it.

“We were going to do it for no reason at all,” said schoolmate and fellow skateboarder Mike Simpson. “When Dean got sick, it gave us a purpose for the trip.”

The group left Pietermaritzburg at 6 am on Saturday morning and skated non-stop for a total of nine hours via the Comrades route. Medical cover for the trip was provided by Medi-Clinic’s ambulance service, ER24.

The skateboarders called it a day when they reached Kloof, and finished the remainder of the trip in just over three hours yesterday.

In total, they’ve raised close to R10 000 thus far.

Visit www.road2recovery.co.za if you’d like to make a contribution.

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