Foundation sends out alert on skin crisis

Children who have received skin and organ transplants met cross-country runner Spinnekop.
Children who have received skin and organ transplants met cross-country runner Spinnekop.

On May 5, last year a stray bullet hit Nathaniel Hendricks (14). A day later, the Tafelsig learner was pronounced brain dead.

“I just went blank when the doctor told me,” says his mother, Natasha. After speaking to her pastor, she decided to donate her son’s organs, saving five other lives.

One of the children he saved was a seven-year-old boy. “Nathaniel’s heart went to a little boy. I was told he had been confined to his bed for most of his life. I had the joy of seeing Nathaniel run around for 14 years. I wanted his mommy to experience the same joy,” she says.

On Friday 23 August Natasha and a group of children who had received skin and organ transplants welcomed Spinnekop, aka Eric Kevin Nefdt, at The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital to raise awareness on the skin donor crisis, Nefdt had been running for the past 37 days from Lüderitz to the hospital X all while wearing a Spiderman suit.

Samantha Nicholls, the executive director of the Organ Donor Foundation, says a human skin graft is a critical component needed to save the lives of burn patients.

She says it is extremely difficult to obtain consent from the families of deceased donors but she encourages all South Africans to say ”yes” to organ and tissue donation.

V To register as a donor, go to odf.org.za.

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