Man witnesses sunrise from hot air balloon two days before dying

2017-04-11 13:04
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Bloemfontein – Two days before losing his battle against dementia and motor neuron disease (MND) – the same disease that claimed the life of former Springbok Joost van der Westhuizen – a Bloemfontein businessman was able to tick another wish off his bucket list by flying over the Magaliesberg in his wheelchair in a hot air balloon, Netwerk24 reported.

Johan "Sakkie" van der Merwe, 44, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of MND in April last year. He died in his home in Bainsvlei, outside Bloemfontein, on Friday.

- Health24: Motor neurone disease

His wife Anita, 43, said Johan had used his last ounce of energy on things he enjoyed, instead of lying in bed and mulling over his illness.

She said Johan’s face glowed after he saw the sun rise over the breathtaking mountain in the hot air balloon.

"He did what he wanted to until his death, and kept to his bucket list."

'Life's too short for trivialities'

Anita hoped people would use Johan’s life as an example.

"People have to realise that life is too short for everyday trivialities. There are more important things in life."

She said Johan was an unbelievably positive person with a passion for life. He was an adrenaline junkie who wanted to do everything possible.

"His family always came first. It was only God who was more important to him," Anita said.

She said his family was very important to him, and that was why he wanted to die at home with his wife and children.

Their children, Anica, 13, Ihan, 10 and Isa, 9, were sad about his death, but happy for Johan to be in heaven, where he could speak, laugh, and be strong again.

Anita added that after Johan’s death the children had said: "Thanks for the time you were our dad. It was the best time of our lives."

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  good news  |  health

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