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IT could so easily have been yet another bad news story: a pretty little girl horribly burned in an accident as the family light a braai to celebrate New Year.
Instead the tale of little Pippie Kruger and her family’s desperate efforts to get a new skin – and a new life – for her has got people across the world monitoring her progress every step of the way and rooting for her.
So far the news appears to be good: the skin grafts, from skin cloned in a lab and flown in dramatic fashion from the US, appear to be taking.
When the first of her bandages were removed from her legs to check the progress of the grafts this week, those in the hospital theatre applauded.
Certainly there is still a long, long way to go before Pippie will be able to lead anything resembling a normal life but her doctor believes she will, one day, play like other children her age.
But the images of little Pippie in her hospital bed, heavily swathed in bandages, have touched a chord in hearts across the country.
Hers, her family’s and her medical team’s story is a true South African story of great courage and determination; of moving mountains to get a helpless little girl the help she needs to be well.
And while those in Boston may have developed the technique, South African surgeons and specialists have shown they are up there with the best in the world when it comes to the care of burns.
Pippie’s dramatic story has been a welcome respite from the sordid drama of political infighting, corruption and ineptitude which have largely dominated our news pages in recent times.
And that her family are prepared not only to help her, but to reach out to other burn victims who can benefit through the establishment of an NGO, is another huge plus.
We can only wish – with the rest of South Africa – that this story has a truly happy ending.