WATCH | Shark attack survivor raises R35 000 for young amputee in CrossFit challenge

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  • Caleb Swanepoel, a shark attack survivor, has raised little more than R35 000 for an 8-year-old in need of a prosthetic leg.
  • Swanepoel, an above-the-knee amputee, recently participated in the first ever Adaptive CrossFit Open.  
  • He has set himself a target of R60 000.

It's a chilly autumn morning and Cape Town para-athlete Caleb Swanepoel is grinding his teeth.

He's hard at work, trying to complete the last repetition (rep) of a gruelling CrossFit workout.

He usually visits the gym alone, but this morning he has an audience. His friends and family are cheering him on because his exercise reps are for a special cause.

Also in attendance is Elijah Albertyn, the young boy who will benefit from Swanepoel's endeavours. Before the day is done, Swanepoel's endurance efforts will raise more than R35 000.

CrossFit Open

Swanepoel recently participated in the CrossFit Open – an annual competition that tests CrossFit athletes' strength and endurance.

For the first time, the competition had an "adaptive division" that offered sporting events for people with disabilities.

He is using the competition as a catalyst to raise funds for 8-year-old Elijah, an amputee.

As a baby, Elijah was diagnosed with a chronic blood condition called Haemophilia B.

He endured heart surgery at the age of one and days after the operation, his leg was amputated due to blood flow complications.

"When this happened to us seven years ago, we didn't know how things would unfold… and look where we are now," Elijah's father, Valhalm Albertyn, told News24.

Paying it forward

Swanepoel, who lost his leg in a shark attack in 2015, is passionate about helping other amputees.

The goal is to raise R60 000, so Elijah can get a new prosthetic leg fitted and maintained.

"Caleb inspires Elijah. The sky is the limit for him," Albertyn said, adding that Swanepoel was a godsend.

"We are so thankful for the effort that he has put in. It's an amazing feat, and we know even more people will be inspired by what he has done."

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