Wings and Wishes gives Inganathi second chance

2019-06-12 06:01
Inganathi and her parents at Wings and Wishes' first year celebration. From left are Olwethu Simanga, Inganathi Stalmeester and Cindy Stalmeester.                                        Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

Inganathi and her parents at Wings and Wishes' first year celebration. From left are Olwethu Simanga, Inganathi Stalmeester and Cindy Stalmeester. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

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AFTER a successful pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy baby, Cindy Stalmeester could not have foreseen the nightmare after being discharged from the hospital.

On June 6, 2018, Cindy gave birth to a healthy Inganathi and went home in awe of her precious newborn.

When Inganathi was just two weeks old, Cindy noticed her bloated tummy and took her to a traditional healer with no success. She immediately sought help at her local general practitioner, who referred her to the local hospital.

“Inganathi spent weeks in hospital while doctors did blood tests and scans to determine what was causing her bloated tummy.

“On October 4, 2018, she was diagnosed by the local doctors with a pancreatic tumour and was referred to Red Cross Hospital,” Cindy said.

On arrival at Red Cross Hospital, Inganathi was too weak for surgery and doctors started with intravenous feeding. For a month, Cindy slept next to Inganathi’s bed and watched how her baby’s condition worsened.

“I was under a lot of strain and stress at that time. No mother wants to see her child in pain and feeling absolutely helpless. I cried, I begged and I prayed for a miracle, but my baby got worse by the day.

“I told her father that we had to prepare ourselves for the worst,” Cindy said.

On November 6, 2018, Wings and Wishes in Port Elizabeth received an urgent request to transport Inganathi’s father to Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town as Inganathi had been placed on a ventilator.

Inganathi’s parents had to decide – would they just stand idly by and see how their daughter deteriorate or were they going to agree to surgery, with a chance of her dying on the operating table?

“We agreed to surgery because I told myself that if my baby died on the operating table, I would know that I had tried everything in my power to save her. I told the doctors the exact same thing and prepared myself for the death of my child,” Cindy said.

During a lengthy operation, a huge growth was removed from Inganathi’s abdomen.

Inganathi was in ICU for a few days and her recovery was remarkable.

However, the test results revealed that the growth was a ‘fetus in fetu’ – a rare condition where one of the twins is in the body of the other.

Cindy added, “I was crushed when I received the news. I had no idea I was expecting twins and that the one was making my baby sick. I thanked God for healing Inganathi, but was also sad for the loss of my other baby.

“On the bright side, if it was not for the generosity of Wings and Wishes, my baby would not have been here today.”

Wings and Wishes is a non-profit organisation which is dedicated to transport critically ill children to receive the lifesaving specialist medical care that they require.

They opened their doors in 2006 with the objective of assisting critically ill children to access the quality care that was required in order to heal.

According to the manager of Wings and Wishes, Inge Human, while state and private health care providers did make transport to medical facilities available, it was not always readily accessible, or available for all medical situations.

“State hospitals have limited and inconsistent provincial budgets that often expire midyear. Also, private aid, depending on the scheme, is limited as to the frequency of use. Transport should never be a barrier for a child to reach lifesaving or specialised medical treatment they need, wherever they live,” Human said.

With the help of Wings and Wishes, the family received transport for Inganathi’s lifesaving surgery. Today, Inganathi is a healthy baby and recently celebrated her first birthday.

Cindy added, “We are so blessed to have Inganathi in our lives and for the generosity of Wings and Wishes. We cannot thank them enough.”

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