Rijk’s medical journey
Rijk was admitted to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital a month before his first birthday, in January 2006. He was diagnosed with end stage renal failure and began life saving dialysis treatment. After extensive tests, the cause of Rijk’s renal failure was found to be a rare disorder called Congenital Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. What this means is that Rijk’s immune system attacks his own red blood cells,damaging the capillaries in his kidneys, which leads to renal failure.
Rijk spent so much of his childhood in the E2 ward, that he practically grew up with the nurses, doctors and other patients. He spent many months at a time at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. The little boy underwent 24 operations, one of which was a kidney transplant in 2007.
“Rijk has the best available team looking after him. This team often goes beyond what is expected to make sure everything possible is done to save Rijk’s life”, says Jooste Vermeulen, Rijk’s father. Jooste has been very worried about his son, whose medical treatment is often complex.
Rijk has been a patient at Red Cross Children’s Hospital for over nine years and is a familiar face to almost everyone, from the support service staff to the security staff to the administration staff and many more who all greet him by name. He is part of the Hospital’s family.
Sadly, the transplant that Rijk had in 2007, lasted for only four months. He has been on dialysis for nine years of his life. Rijk is waiting for another kidney transplant, which will enable him to go to school and have a normal childhood.