Durban - Seven-year-old Amile of Woodlands in Durban loves colouring and reading. She is also in desperate need of a new liver.
Her single mother, Phiwo Hlongwane, said her Grade 2 daughter, who is clearly the sunshine of her life, was first diagnosed with liver disease when she was only three years old.
“In hindsight there were other signs, but at the time she had developed a bit of a rash, so I took her to a paediatrician. Initially, there was a cyst on her liver and I think that is where the damage started,” said Hlongwane.
Amile has remained under the constant care of a specialist at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, but the little girl has now been diagnosed with cirrhosis and requires a transplant urgently.
While Amile suffers from digestive problems and constant itching, she remains active.
“Amile is shy, but also very inquisitive. She loves reading, as well as colouring and sticking,” said her mother.
Like many little girls, Frozen is her favourite animated movie and her meal of choice is “mac and cheese”.
To get her daughter the urgent help she needs, Hlongwane has just launched a Backabuddy campaign with the help of two friends and colleagues, Sam Oakley and Angela Sagar, to raise funds for Amile’s treatment.
“As we cannot afford the cost of a liver transplant, Amile is on the national transplant list, but we don’t know how long it will take to get to the top of that list.
“What we are hoping for is a living donor transplant, which can only be done at two hospitals, one in Johannesburg and the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town, so we started raising funds. So far the support has been really amazing,” said Hlongwane.
Oakley said they hoped people would come on board to help Amile get the treatment she so desperately needs.
“Phiwo is a very gentle and kind person. She is just so strong dealing with this every day, I don’t think she recognises her own strength. She inspires me as a mother and her situation puts everything into perspective.”
Within a week, the fund-raising has reached R23 000, but the goal is R2.15 million to cover the cost of an operation and the recovery programme.
Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital spokesperson Charles Mthembu confirmed that Amile was under the care of a specialist at the hospital.
For more information, go to www.backabuddy.co.zaThe Independent on Saturday