Amy is a bright and witty young girl from Zimbabwe who has been traveling back and forth between her home and South Africa for specialised medical care since 2013.
At the young age of four, Amy was diagnosed with rigid-spine syndrome and a neurological-muscular condition, but it was only later, when she developed scoliosis, that she was referred to Cape Town for treatment. After Amy underwent surgery for a spinal fusion and bone graft, complications arose and she experienced, heart, renal and respiratory failure. For her parents, this was a scary and unbelievably challenging time, as they were forced to be in “survival mode” at all times.
As young Amy had severe difficulty breathing, she underwent a tracheostomy procedure. It was during this time that Amy was transferred to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital for further specialised care. At the Hospital Amy finally started to regain strength after her organs shut down and her mom, Ange, completed Sister Jane Booth’s Breatheasy training programme that taught her all there is to know about caring for her little girl’s new breathing device.
Now, over two years later, Amy’s dad, Gorden has brought Amy all the way from Zimbabwe for her annual check-ups with all of the specialising doctors at the Hospital and he is happy to report that they received good feedback across the board. As Amy is fully dependent on a ventilator, she needs to undergo sleep studies to determine whether her air pressure is adequate every year when she visits the Hospital. “Amy’s condition is a tricky one, but she is doing much better and we have received great feedback.”
For Gorden, it is a relief that they are no longer in the “intervention stage” of Amy’s treatment, but simply doing the routine follow-ups that are needed to ensure that her condition remains stable. “We are now two years down the road from the major challenges.”
“I am happy to be better,” Amy says. She has grown up to be a very social young lady with a big heart and although she finds it tough at times to watch her friends running around, she believes that she is the fortunate one, as she has a special electric wheelchair that only she can whizz around in. For Gorden, Amy’s determination to look at the glass “half full” is very inspiring and he knows that she is living a happy childhood.
Amy and Gorden are now on their way back to Zimbabwe where Amy will be celebrating her thirteenth birthday in style next week, “I am going to have a glow-in-the-dark party.” We wish you all the best and hope you have a lovely birthday, brave Amy!