ABOVE: Actor Jason Winston George of TV series Grey’s Anatomy has been moved by Reef’s plight and regularly visits Reef.
In three months Reef Carneson has made encouraging progress – but his parents face an uphill battle to pay for his treatment.
For the first time he can stand on his own, waddle a few steps and even bend down to pick up a ball.
These are special milestones in the life of any child but for the parents of Reef Carneson, a three-year-old South African boy suffering from a rare medical condition, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
In October last year little Reef couldn’t even open his fist because his skin, as dry as parchment, would split. He also couldn’t stand or walk unaided.
So his parents sold their possessions and moved to Los Angeles, America, so he could receive life-saving treatment.
Recently he was able to enjoy ice cream and pancakes for the first time. He even played outside like other children.
But the family is facing financial difficulties. Days before Christmas Reef was discharged from hospital because his parents could no longer afford the expensive treatment he was receiving. But all isn’t lost; as an out-patient he’s now receiving less expensive treatment.
Read more in Danél Blaauw and Margaret Gardiner’s article in YOU 19 January 2012.