Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal school teacher was so moved by the plight of one of her five-year-old pupils who suffered severe burns after falling into a bucket of boiling hot water - and now needs ongoing skin graft treatment - that she has set up a crowd-funding page to help the little girl and her parents pay for the escalating medical costs.
Since the campaign went live crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy on August 17, it has raised R 2 604.35 towards the target of R100 000 with contributions from seven donors.
It comes after Boitumelo Ngidi, 5, who lives at Mpophomeni in Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands spent weeks in hospital - much of it in the Intensive Care Unit - after falling backwards into a bath of boiling hot water in June this year.
After spending more than 20 days in hospital, Boitumelo was discharged in July but needed to return to hospital every two days to change the dressing which is straining her family's finance. She is also in need of ongoing occupational therapy to help her move and skin grafts.
Boitumelo’s teacher and principal at Heritage House Preschool, Karen van Lelyveld who started the campaign said the family has suffered a tremendous ordeal and needed the help.
She said that after fallin into the boiling hot water, Boitumelo was pulled out by her mum, Nonhlanhla and was immediately rushed to a hospital some 25 minutes away from their home.
Upon arrival, Boitumelo was placed into ICU, after sustaining superficial burns on both her upper limbs and neck as well as ‘full thickness burns’ on her back and buttocks.
“Boitumelo presented with decreased range of motion in the neck, right and left shoulders, oedema in the left hand, poor pain management, inability to sit upright without back support, poor in-bed mobility and poor functional mobility, " said Occupational Therapist, Nadia De Barros
After two weeks, Boitumelo was placed into the Paediatric Ward before being discharged on the 19th of July, as their medical aid could no longer cover the cost of ICU.
The funds raised will be used to support Boitumelo’s ongoing medical costs, extensive occupational therapy as well as the psychological therapy and the shortfalls of the family’s basic medical aid plan.
“The family has suffered a tremendous ordeal, with Nonhlanhla, carrying a burden of guilt for what has happened to her daughter and the lifelong scars she will have. She has so much love for her daughter and has taken unpaid leave to be at her daughter's side as often as she can. To make matters worse, the family car was involved in a car accident as a result of the stressful situation,” van Lelyveld said.
Unable to take public transport due to her fragile state and for risk of infection, the family rely on friends and family to take them to the hospital to change Tumi’s dressing every two days, which sometimes isn’t possible, she said.
“Boitumelo has endured so much for such a young child and every time she starts making progress, she gets another infection and skin grafts need to be redone, which sets her back".
Funds generated by this campaign will be directly managed by BackaBuddy NPC and paid directly to the relevant medical practitioners to ensure transparency with donors.
“With surgical intervention that is to follow, Boitumelo will require continued occupational therapy focusing on upper limb rehabilitation and functional rehabilitation until she is independent in the home and school environment. In order to achieve this, she will need to attend occupational therapy sessions one to times a week, purchase pressure garments which cost about R16 000 each, skin therapy products, and possibly splints," De Barros said.
“Last Friday, Boitumelo came to school for an occupational therapy session and stayed for about two hours. She is still having difficulty walking and the exercises were noticeably painful for her. It has been heart-wrenching to see this bubbly little girl in such anguish, but she continues to put on a brave face for her friends who adore her. We hope the public will support our BackaBuddy campaign, so Tumi can get the treatment she needs and return to school full time," van Lelyveld said.
People can support Boitumelo by donating on BackaBuddy here.