Raising funds online

2019-06-24 12:40
Rodney Trenam with his wife, Beryl, and their daughter, Bithia.

Rodney Trenam with his wife, Beryl, and their daughter, Bithia.

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More and more South African are ditching old ways of fundraising and moving to online platforms to raise funds for worthy courses.

At the beginning of the month, many South African were inspired to dig deep into their pockets and donate more than R500 000 on the BackaBuddy website for a Cape Town petrol attendant, Nkosikho Mbele.

Mbele had assisted customer Monet van Deventer with R100 after she realised that she had forgotten her wallet at home.

Earlier this week, a single mother of two, also from Cape Town, got more than she expected when she asked for a mere R10 prepaid electricity voucher on Twitter. The woman’s tweet soon started circulating and tweeps opened their pockets. By Wednesday afternoon, she had received thousands of units of electricity from benefactors that went beyond and raised funds for her to pay for her son’s school fees.

Pietermaritzburg woman Beryl Trenam (67) also took to the BackaBuddy online crowdfunding website to raise funds for her daughter’s medical condition. The retired mother told Weekend Witness that she started an online fundraising campaign for medical expenses to help her lovely daughter, Bithia, improve the quality of her life.

Bithia (33), has tarlov cysts, which is a rare disease of spinal fluid-filled sacs in the sacral region of the spine affecting the nerve roots. This and Bithia’s other back injuries developed from a car accident 12 years ago.

“She suffers daily debilitating pain, weakness, sciatica, migraines, and painful mobility,” said Beryl.

She said government hospitals only diagnosed Bithia with tarlov cysts last year, but they did not have the resources to help her. After her diagnosis, Bithia was forced to leave her job as she was no longer capable of working and had to fully rely on her retired parents for support.

She is now in need of a special operation that her mother says only a few surgeons worldwide are willing to attempt. Fortunately, the Trenam family found a specialist neurosurgeon here in KwaZulu-Natal who agreed to do the operation, estimated to cost a minimum of R200 000.

Seeing her symptoms getting worse daily, with added bladder dysfunction and losing sensitivity in her lower limbs, Beryl started researching ideas on how to raise funds for her beloved daughter and, after immense research, she opted to use the BackaBudy website.

“We recently just launched the page and posted the video,” she said.

“I chose BackaBuddy because they are reliable, people trust them and they only take a very small percentage for themselves,” she said.

The crowdfunding website, which has raised a over R100 million for different charities, retains a five percent administration fee and pays the medical institution or the charities involved directly.

By Thursday afternoon, the Trenam family had managed to raise just over R13 000 since launching the their BackaBuddy campaign — Brave Bithia — earlier this week.

“We are also doing physical fundraising now and again but I think we won’t be making as much money as we will be making online because we would still need to deal with the taxman and other expenses to actually host the fundraisers,” she said.

Graham Wells and one of his friends, Gerald Pave, also created a crowdfunding campaign for local woman NiQi During, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) when she was just five months old.

crowd funding

On the Saturday before this year’s Comrades Marathon race, Wells and Pavel ran to Durban, through the night, and then turned around and ran the official Comrades race back to Pietermaritzburg to raise funds for Durinng’s medical expenses.

Well told Weekend Witness that they opted to raise the funds via a reliable and well-known online crowdfunding website, BackaBuddy, to put people at ease about possible card fraud.

“Online platforms are very professional, and it makes it easier for people to donate money in any currency and using whatever method they’re comfortable with,” he said.

 • To prepare for this challenge, Gerald and Graham did the Deloitte Marathon, Bergville to Ladysmith and a Route Tester back to back to raise awareness and some much-needed funds for the cause.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crowd funding
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