December 14, 2022
A family of four-year-old Samantha Nwelana from Umtata in the Eastern Cape is in a jovial mood following a much-needed surgery to repair a hole in her heart.
Speaking from her home in Mandela Park, a village outside Umtata, Samantha’s mom Nomfusi said she was relieved that the operation was a success and that her child will for the first time enjoy Christmas like other children.
“I’m relieved. It will be the first time that Samantha is not in pain. Our family is looking forward to having a great festive season.”
Nwelana said before the surgery, her daughter was always in constant pain.
“I was always worried as I did not know what was going to happen to her. She was very sick, and doctors had to cancel the first operation when her health deteriorated. Now this second time around, my baby girl was strong and healthy.”
The success of the operation means a lot to the Nwelana family, as they live off one salary – her mom’s a domestic worker and takes care of her unemployed children and grandchildren.
“My mom is the only person working in the house. Her meagre salary has to take care of me, my two siblings and my grandchildren. She also must ensure that Samantha regularly goes to the clinic, which is far from here.”
“The operation has relieved the burden of paying R70 for transport from the village to the hospital in Umtata. I’m just hoping the hospital visits will be less from now onwards.”
Samantha’s heart condition was discovered in June 2021 and her situation deteriorated, compromising her health, Pelo Foundation had to step in and assist with funding. Her operation was performed at Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital in Gauteng.
Nwelana has shown gratitude to everyone that has made it possible for her child to receive the operation.
“I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for my child to get the surgery. She is here at home recovering well. Next year she is going to Grade 1.”
Samantha is one of the 13th children whose operations were made by Pelo Foundation and its partners: Busamed Private Hospital Group, where the children are operated and Wings and Wishes, an NGO which transports the children from their homes to the hospital and back.
Currently, the Eastern Cape Province alone has approximately 500 children who are on the waiting list for heart surgery.
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