Diabetic excels against the odds

2018-11-29 06:00
Nathan Hendricks (right) has done the Marina 3km Open Water swim twice. Life saver Etienne van Gent (left) acted as his eyes by swimming alongside him at his second attempt. Photos:SUPPLIED

Nathan Hendricks (right) has done the Marina 3km Open Water swim twice. Life saver Etienne van Gent (left) acted as his eyes by swimming alongside him at his second attempt. Photos:SUPPLIED

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WHEN St Francis College grade 7 learner Nathan Hendricks addressed his school on World Diabetes Day on 14 November, it seemed as if he was taking leave of them in the most memorable way – as more than a conqueror over adversity.

This young boy was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic before the age of 1 year and has since been on an insulin pump. During his presentation, an inspiring story emerged of a lonesome battle against the odds to end up victoriously.

In addition to diabetes he also suffers from Sarsgaard Macular degeneration, a retinal disease which impairs his vision. In spite of these handicaps he is an avid cricketer and swimmer. Instead of bitterness he has chosen to be positive in his approach to life’s obstacles, and conquers sport and his academic career like any other young man with a mission.

He has done the Marina 3km Open Water swim twice. Life saver Etienne van Gent acted as his eyes by swimming alongside him at his second attempt. His proud father relates how his son not only plays cricket, but also takes wickets in spite of his impaired vision. He is also the top chess player of the College, which is a feat in itself because it is the same as playing partially blindfolded.

He is a diligent student and loves mathematics. He overcomes reading problems by using an i-pad, magnifiers and other reading aids.

He is looking forward to continuing his studies at the Global Leadership Academy in Jeffreys Bay next year.

Caroline Anderson, acting headmistress of St Francis College, says, “We are very proud of Nathan and are privileged to have him at our school. His parents have always given him and the school so much support, and they are to be commended for raising such a wonderful young man.

“On behalf of the St Francis College staff, I wish him all the best for his next chapter.”

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