Police car dream comes true for sick teen

2008-04-01 00:00

Philani Mdolo (14) is no ordinary 14-year-old: he suffers from a chronic kidney disease and might not have long to live. However, like every other young boy, he is fascinated by fast cars and dreams of being a policeman.

Yesterday, he got a chance to live that dream through the Reach for a Dream Foundation, which enlisted the help of the Townhill Community Forum (CPF) and the Townhill Police Station.

Reach for a Dream is a non-profit organisation that targets children with chronic diseases or life-threatening illnesses and tries to make their dreams a reality.

From fulfilling R500’s worth of dreams, to trips to Disney Land, no dream is too big or too small,

said Gail Booysen of Reach for a Dream, who was behind Philani realising his dream of owning a Nike tracksuit, a soccer ball and riding in a police car.

"We obviously assess to make sure it’s the child’s dream and not mom or dad’s, but we do our best, with the help of our sponsors to make it a reality," she said.

Booysen, who referred to herself as "an ordinary housewife", decided to join the project last July and volunteers on Tuesdays by visiting chronically ill young patients at Grey’s Hospital.

She said she is one of the "lucky ones" who has everything in life and now it is time to give back.

"It makes me feel so small. I think people in Pietermaritzburg need to be aware of the work we do, and I must say I have met up with some amazing businesspeople. They have been generous in their giving, they have been absolutely fantastic," she said.

The CPF donated a soccer ball worth R300 to make Philani’s dream come true, while the Townhill Police Station donated a cup full of goodies.

Laughter and exuberant joy lit Philani’s frail-looking face as he took centre stage, riding in the front seat of the police car, switching the siren on and off at his leisure.

Philani received an added treat when Stuart Knight of the CPF took him to the Chase Valley Eco Family Park, a place Knight said was once known as "a gangster’s paradise", but has now become a haven for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"I’m very happy and I really love my Kaizer Chiefs T-shirt," said a visibly delighted Philani.

Just for one day, Philani was able to forget about the pain he goes through and the dialysis machines connected to his body.

However, after all the fun, Philani’s greatest dream remains being able to go back to live with his mother in their Estcourt home and to be at school like most boys his age.

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