Pippie’s year of fighting

2012-12-31 00:00

THERE will be no New Year celebrations in the home of Pippie Kruger this year.

Today is exactly a year since the toddler suffered devastating burns over 90% of her body in a freak accident at a family braai.

“The 31st and the 1st aren’t in my diary anymore,” said mother Anice Kruger yesterday. “Erwin [her husband] is going to look after the children and I’m going to sleep until the 2nd.”

Last December 31, a bottle of fire-starter gel exploded in Erwin’s hands, and two-year-old Pippie, who was playing more than two metres away, was engulfed in flames.

Anice and Pippie saw the new year in in the ambulance that raced them from the family home in Lephalale (Ellisras) to the Garden City Hospital in Johannesburg.

It was there, months later, that Pippie received a life-saving transplant of skin cloned from her own skin cells and cultured in the U.S.

In the past year, there was just one day that Anice says she really thought Pippie would not survive. Twice she prayed that God would take her, because her pain was so great.

“A person isn’t supposed to survive a year like this. If I’d known a year ago what I would have to go through, I’d have locked myself away somewhere,” she said.

“It was only with God’s power, Erwin’s support and Pippie’s own strength that I survived.”

Anice said it was Pippie who got her through the year, not the other way round.

“If she hadn’t fought so hard, I couldn’t have fought so hard.”

Pippie is now doing well after an operation two weeks ago to cut a hard area of skin under her left arm.

She can sit upright, and stand with Anice’s support.

She has started to speak again, saying “hey” and “hello”, and “Mamma” — the last only when she is cross, Anice joked.

If her recovery continues well, Anice and Pippie will be able to return to Lephalale in April, where baby Arno (18 months) has been living with his grandparents.

“Just as Pippie and I will have to get used to living in Ellisras again, Arno will have to get used to living with us, but we will take it slowly,” said Anice.

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