Little Aidan lives his dream as a ER24 superhero

2016-10-25 09:01
Little Aidan all set for his first day on the 'job' with ER24 branch manager, Saul Behrmann (ER24).

Little Aidan all set for his first day on the 'job' with ER24 branch manager, Saul Behrmann (ER24).

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Johannesburg - A 7-year-old boy who suffers from Costello syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, fulfilled one of his dreams when he became the youngest "member" of ER24 emergency services.

Aidan Botha, dressed in his red ER24 flight suit, took his first official ride in an ambulance ahead of his surgery on Friday morning.

Sirens blared and lights flashed as Aidan, accompanied by his ER24 "colleagues" and family, bravely reported for duty at the Mediclinic Morningside.

His surgery on Friday was to remove growths he recently developed under his lower eyelids, as well as adenoids, ER24 spokesperson Chitra Bodasing Harduth said.

ER24 Johannesburg north paramedics, including branch manager Saul Behrmann, picked Aidan up and took him to hospital.

Aidan received a goodie bag and a flight suit on Thursday. Filled with the excitement, he immediately put his flight suit on and only took it off before his bath.

Facebook request

Costello syndrome affects various parts of the body. He has to undergo abdominal scans every three months to screen for cancerous tumours. He also has to undergo regular heart scans because he has a thickened left ventricle wall.

To lift his spirits ahead of his operation his mother, Melissa Botha, put a request on Facebook for any emergency service to visit him.

Aidan loves firefighters, police officers, paramedics and ambulances.

Aidan, who lives in Bryanston, Johannesburg, was diagnosed with the disorder when he was 18 months old.

Aidan receiving a goodie bag from ER24 Joburg North branch manager, Saul Behrmann, and Russel Meiring, ER24 spokesperson (ER24).

The syndrome is so rare that his is the second diagnosis in South Africa, Bodasing Harduth said. He is one of only a few hundred people worldwide who have been diagnosed.

"With the run-up to this operation and Aidan having so many bad experiences, I thought about having a fireman, police officer, or paramedic visit him to take the edge off," Botha said.

As a single mother, she has to find ways of raising funds to pay for the monthly expenses.

He developed calcaneovalgus feet, a deformity that makes the foot look like it has been pushed up and against the front of the leg.

Fundraising for Aidan

"We tried various non-invasive ways to treat the condition, however, last year he went through one of the most difficult operations."

Aidan was in a cast for more than six weeks.

"His mobility is his expression of communication. I had to keep him busy. He was a bit depressed that he could not move around," Botha said.

Like any child, getting him ready for school is a challenge.

Aidan with ER24 Joburg (ER24).

"I cannot be an adult all the time. I have to be a child with him, to entertain him, get him to school and be on schedule," she said.

Aidan needs occupational therapy, medication, and specialised equipment. It costs about R35 000 a month to raise him, and his medical aid does not cover everything.

To raise money Botha created a website called Raising Aidan and sells cupcakes.

- To find out more about how you can help Aidan visit or visit the Raising Aidan Facebook page.

Read more on:    er24  |  johannesburg  |  good news  |  health

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