WATCH | FEEL GOOD: Shark attack survivor is raising funds for 8-year-old amputee

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  • Para-athlete Caleb Swanepoel is on a mission to raise R60 000.
  • The funds will go towards buying eight-year-old Elijah Albertyn a new prosthetic leg and socket.
  • Swanepoel will compete in the adaptive category of the CrossFit Open at Motley Crew gym in Cape Town to raise the funds.

Para-athlete Caleb Swanepoel has been squeezing extra reps into his weekly workouts this month.

Not because he wants to bulk up faster, but because he is on a mission to raise funds for a deserving boy in Cape Town.

"We are looking at raising R60 000 for Elijah, which is to hopefully get him onto a new prosthetic. It's probably going to be a running blade, so he'll be able to get more involved with sports activities. He'll be able to keep up with a lot of the kids at school," Swanepoel told News24.

Eight-year-old old Elijah Albertyn is an amputee in need of a new prosthetic leg.

"He is passionate about fitness. He likes cricket, Spiderman and soccer. He and I kicked the ball a little bit."

Swanepoel has a personal understanding of how a prosthetic leg can change one's life. He lost his right leg in a shark attack while holidaying with his family in 2015.

READ | FEEL GOOD: Cape Town cook delivers treats to healthcare workers

"It was a very traumatic event … I shouldn't be here. I am so lucky to be alive. It's miracle that I am here," he said.

Six years later, he has learned how to walk, surf and swim.

Turning fitness into funds

Always up for a challenge, two months ago he joined CrossFit. Like many of the gym's members, he was urged by the instructors to enter the CrossFit Open.

It is an annual competition that tests the strength and endurance of CrossFit athletes. 

This year is also the first time the competition has an "adaptive division" that offers sporting events for people with disabilities.

Swanepoel decided to use the launch of the new division as a catalyst to raise funds for someone in need. He has launched an online crowdfunding campaign

He reached out to Chin and Partners, his prosthetists, who put him in touch with Elijah and the two athletes hit it off.

Jumping Kids, an NPO that helps young South Africans with prosthetic needs, will now be facilitating the process of fitting and maintaining the prosthetic.

"When I lost my leg, you always look to someone else to see what the experience is going to be like. It was quite daunting. So, [I feel that] reaching out to amputees going through that [a similar experience] can help settle the nerves."

Swanepoel will be testing his physical ability on Friday at the Motley Crew gym in Cape Town.

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