A new heart gives little Phalo a zest for life

2016-08-09 09:28
Phalo Gayiya, 7, who received a new heart on Monday after being on the waiting list for 4 months. (credit: Worcester Charity Biker Group)

Phalo Gayiya, 7, who received a new heart on Monday after being on the waiting list for 4 months. (credit: Worcester Charity Biker Group)

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Cape Town - Since receiving a new heart on Mandela Day, seven-year-old Phalo Gayiya has not only regained his appetite, but his energy for life too.

After three weeks in hospital, he is sitting, eating, walking a few steps and asking a lot of questions, his father Thapelo Ramasesane told News24 with a laugh.

“He is doing very well. They took out the drain and the doctor is very positive,” he said.

“You can see the difference between the previous heart and his new heart. There is still a long way to go. It was not as easy as we expected, but the worst is over.”

Gayiya was put on the waiting list for a heart after being diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart) in March.

- Health24: Cardiomyopathy

He received a donor heart at the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Hospital on July 18.

Ramasesane, a police admin clerk, and his wife Nombulelo Gayiya, an administrator in the Breede Valley municipality, took time off work and slept at the hospital.

When Phalo woke up after the operation, he asked: “What did they do to me?”

They explained the procedure to him. Then he asked when he would go swimming again and when he would see his school friends and teachers.

His face lit up when he was told he would be going back to school next year.

“We were worried he would ask questions we couldn’t answer or that he would see the scar on his chest and scream. He is a brave boy,” said Ramasesane.

Road to recovery

Phalo’s memory was in tip-top shape.

Before the transplant, his father said he made a deal that he would take him to Johannesburg to watch Orlando Pirates versus Kaizer Chiefs.

They would wear their team shirts and blow their vuvuzelas loudly.

“After the transplant, he said, ‘See I have got my new heart. Are we still going to Joburg?’”

The family are now focusing on the road to recovery.

While his medical aid covered most of the costs, Ramasesane said there were some expenses lying in wait.

“At the moment, we are focusing on the boy, but we know later the bills will come,” he said with a sigh.

- Health24: Heart health

- Organ Donor Foundation

Read more on:    phalo gayiya  |  cape town  |  health  |  good news

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