Four hours, then a heartbeat


They call him God’s little miracle because last October the boy whose eyes sparkle as he looks at his birthday cake with its three candles was clinically dead for four hours.

Carel Oberholzer waddles to the table and hauls himself onto a chair to blow out the candles.

“Blow!” his parents and brother encourage him. But he struggles. “Spit!” dad Jurgens Oberholzer (27) suggests. Carel spits and shouts with delight as the candles go out one by one.

His mom, Marelise (29), is tearful but her smile reveals her happiness and gratitude. After that terrible day last year they didn’t think they’d ever have the privilege of celebrating this birthday, she says.

Carel was clinically dead when they found him in the pool at their home in Rustenburg, North West.

Although his heart miraculously started beating again after four interminable hours he was in a coma for the next three weeks. Medical staff believed he would have serious brain damage and cerebral palsy for the rest of his life.

But this week Jurgens and Marelise put three candles on his Cars birthday cake and watched him reach for them.

Read Carel’s incredible story by Jaco Hough-Coetzee in YOU 8 March 2012.

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