Pretoria - When 18-year-old Marius Landman crashed his motorcycle one evening last month, his mother, Matilda Botha, feared the worst since they did not have medical aid.
Botha said: “All I remember hearing was my daughter’s hysterical voice over the phone that something bad had happened to Marius.”
Landman was on his way home after 11pm on July 26 after completing a matric assignment when he misjudged a curve and was thrown off his motorcycle, hitting a pole that severed his leg. Although his sister was in a car behind him, doctors could not save the former rugby fanatic’s leg.
Luckily for the young learner, help wasn’t far off in the form of Paul Steyn, who runs a non-profit organisation to raise funds for prosthetic limbs for the less fortunate. Steyn, who himself lost his right leg when he was just 13 years old, knows how difficult it is to keep going after suffering a freak accident, and has dedicated his life to making sure others get the gift of walking.
“I was depressed for a long time after my own accident, but good people from my church donated money to get me an artificial foot and I decided I had to give other people the gift I was given,” Steyn said.
“There is no better feeling than seeing the smile and renewed hope someone has after being given a second chance with these legs,” he said.
Steyn said he walked 30km to 40km a day in order to raise funds. He has walked from Cape Town to Cullinan and now plans to walk from Durban to Cape Town.
De La Rey Pretorius, a medical orthotist and prothetist who helps to build prosthetic legs, said prices ranged from R50 000 for a below-knee prosthetic, while an above-knee prosthetic leg cost at least R70 000.
“A lot of people are going without something that assists with basic functions and I thought by joining Steyn’s foundation I could help him realise his dream and really contribute in a field I’m good at. I was glad to know he was raising funds for those in need,” Pretorius said.
Botha said getting a call from Steyn was a blessing since the family did not have medical aid. “I was shocked when Paul said he was willing to raise funds to help my son, who he doesn’t even know. I still can’t believe it, but I really am grateful,” she said.
“It isn’t all bad, there are some good people out there making their little bit of difference to others, and Steyn is one of them.”