Joshua given wings to fly

2016-06-15 06:00
Little Joshua Stuart (5) with mom Carmen and dad Dorian. Photo: ZELDRÉ STRAUSS SWANEPOEL

Little Joshua Stuart (5) with mom Carmen and dad Dorian. Photo: ZELDRÉ STRAUSS SWANEPOEL

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OFTEN we have to face challenges and it is tough, but we always learn something from them.

Those are the sentiments Carmen Stuart lives by. Her son Joshua (5) was born with Craniosynostosis - a condition in which one or more of the fibrous sutures in an infant skull prematurely fuses by turning into bone (ossification); thereby changing the growth pattern of the skull.

Because the skull cannot expand perpendicular to the fused suture, it compensates by growing more in the direction parallel to the closed sutures. Sometimes the resulting growth pattern provides the necessary space for the growing brain, but results in an abnormal head shape and abnormal facial features.

“When Joshua was 6 months we had to go to Tygerberg Hospital Cape Town for a medical procedure to open up the closed fibrous sutures. Due to a few mix-ups the travel arrangements made by the hospital were not in place. We had to be in Cape Town on the Monday, and by the Friday we still did not know how we were going to get to Cape Town,” said Carmen.

After an unpleasant trip in a taxi to Cape Town, Joshua had a very successful operation. At Tygerberg Hospital Carmen was introduced to the Wings & Wishes organisation who assisted with their transport home.

Wings & Wishes is a Port Elizabeth-based non-profit organization dedicated to transporting critically ill children to receive the life-saving medical treatment.

At the age of 3 Joshua had to return to Tygerberg Hospital for a follow-up operation. This time, all the travel arrangements were taken care of by Wings & Wishes.

“It was as if a big load was lifted off my shoulders because my husband and I are both unemployed and we had no other means to get our son to Cape Town,” said Carmen.

“We are so grateful to Wings & Wishes and their donors. Joshua needs to go for annual check-ups and Wings & Wishes assists with all our travel arrangements,” Dorian, Joshua’s father, said.

Dorian said that they would have surely missed Joshua’s appointments and expert medical help not available in PE if it had not been for Wings & Wishes.

The Wings & Wishes organisation has been assisting Joshua since 2011 with 7 bus tickets and 4 flights.

“Through the support of Wings & Wishes Joshua has a second chance on living a normal life,” Carmen said.

  • In the past financial year Wings & Wishes has funded 1 670 transport opportunities for children. The organisation works with children from birth to 18 and the majority of the children come from previously disadvantaged communities. For more info contact Wings & Wishes manger Inge Human on 041 395 4092 or

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