The surgical mask tied over his mouth and nose makes it easy for the little guy to pretend he’s a superhero hiding his identity. It’s no wonder there’s a mischievous twinkle in his alert eyes. “I’m Superman,” he whispers shyly.
But barely two weeks ago Samkelo Mthethwa (9), or Sam as he’s known, of Durban was still an extremely ill boy with a serious heart problem. He wouldn’t have survived without the new heart beating strongly in his tiny chest.
Since the late Professor Chris Barnard made world news 45 years ago with the first heart transplant the operation has become commonplace, with up to 20 transplants being done in South Africa a year. It makes you forget what a life-giving miracle each one is.
And in Sam’s case it wouldn’t have happened without a series of seemingly coincidental events that fell into place like pieces of a jigsaw.
Read more of this inspirational story by Sulaiman Philip in YOU 22 November 2012.