Fireman’s dedication to give girl (7) freedom

2018-05-03 06:01
=Alton Senekal of the KwaNobuhle Fire Department with Siphosethu Ncandana (7) at the Provincial Hospital where, for the first time, she fitted on her prosthetic legs.    Photo:SUPPLIED

=Alton Senekal of the KwaNobuhle Fire Department with Siphosethu Ncandana (7) at the Provincial Hospital where, for the first time, she fitted on her prosthetic legs. Photo:SUPPLIED

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Last week, three years after a fireman saw a tot running on her stumps in Kwa- Nobuhle, the child walked on her prosthetic legs for the first time.

The legs of Siphosethu “Sisi” Ncandana (7) were amputated at the knees at the age of two. She was born with a condition that caused the upper part of her legs to develop normally but the lower part of her legs and her feet were malformed.

Alton Senekal of the KwaNobuhle Fire Department first saw Sisi in 2015 playing in the street, after he had extinguished a fire in the area.

“On that day she had been playing with a group of friends. I remember how she ran on her stumps, and I could not help feeling pain when I thought of the raw tar against her skin,” said Senekal.

Lungile Mni, his colleague who rode with him, happened to know where Sisi lived.

“I myself have a four-year-old daughter – if that had been my daughter, who would have helped her?” said Senekal.

Mni and Senekal visited Sisi’s house, where they learned that she had not lost only her legs. Both her parents died shortly after her birth.

Sisi was left in the care of her grandmother, Pinky Ncandana (71) who at that point was blind in one eye and had only 10% vision in her other eye.

“We also learned that Sisi had been turned away from school because the local school did not have the resources to accommodate her.”

After the visit, Senekal saw to acquiring a wheelchair for Sisi.

Within four months the local clinic had a wheelchair ready for her.

Senekal even made arrangements to send Ncandana for an eye operation, and she now has about 80% vision in her eye.

But Senekal did not stop there. He wanted to make sure that one day Sisi could wear shoes and walk again on prosthetic legs.

“Actually, I did not do much. I only made arrangements and saw to it that there was transport for the back-and-forth driving to and from the hospital,” he said modestly.

After Sisi had undergone an operation to prepare her stumps for the prosthetic legs, last week everything was ready to offer her new freedom on her prosthetic legs, with brand-new school shoes.

“The moment when she put on her legs was overwhelming. She even took a few steps. Only after a few exercises and lessons with the physiotherapist will she be able to walk with ease.”

Senekal says Sisi is very much spurred on and is full of enthusiasm and he believes that those artificial legs will give her even more self-confidence to face a bright future.

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