Slippers for a dream
Durban - Anentokozo, 6, and her mother, Nonhle Shandu, simply focus on each day ahead as the sun comes up.
In 2017, the bubbly little Durban girl was diagnosed with leukaemia and after treatment, went into remission. But during August last year, she relapsed and was back in hospital.
Anentokozo spent 30 days in hospital in January and another two weeks in February because of an infection. She is now on maintenance chemotherapy.
This week, Nonhle spoke about their roller-coaster journey navigating Anentokozo’s illness and called on the public to support Reach For A Dream’s “Slipper Day” annual campaign on May 7 with R20 for a Slipper Day supporter sticker.
Reach For a Dream Foundation helps children in their battle against life-threatening illnesses.
Speaking about when Anentokozo was first diagnosed, Nonhle said: “I was so distraught, it just seemed to far-fetched.
“At first I was just numb, going around doing what I had to do every day.
“It has taken me a while to get there, but now we just focus on today.
“Anentokozo is still here and I want to give her a full life, we just focus on that and do not worry about what could happen tomorrow or next week.”
She said Anentokozo’s father died and her mother and family provided their support structure.
Describing her little girl as a “very bubbly little person and chatty, once she knows someone”, Nonhle added that Anentokozo loves ballet, but had to stop ballet classes during the lockdown.
"Ballet classes stopped and then she relapsed, so she couldn’t go back.
“But she still likes to dance and sing and do ballet around the house.
“After treatment she has her days when she doesn’t want to talk or eat, but she does love pasta and ribs, those are the flavours of the month,“ she said, adding that the Covid pandemic had been difficult because Anentokozo’s immune system is very compromised.
Nonhle said that Reach For Dream treated Anentokozo to gifts when she was first diagnosed and, when she relapsed, the foundation fulfilled her dream of having an iPad.
Reach For a Dream Durban manager Kerry Donkin said yesterday that the Slipper Day Campaign had been their largest annual campaign, but did not taken place last year because of Covid.
“Slipper Day is back in full force this year and we encourage everybody out there to get on board and support this wonderful initiative.
“It is only R20 and schools, corporates and individuals can get behind it to support these children with life-threatening illnesses.
“As a foundation, we cover all life-threatening illnesses across South Africa and we reach many, many children, often doing close on six dreams a day and 1 600 dreams across the country.
“Slipper Day is our initiative to help us keep these dreams alive for these wonderful children.
“Help us to help these families that have not only been dealt with the blow of a life-threatening illness, but also have had to deal with the challenges we all faced during Covid.
“I think we all, during Covid, have had a taste of what these children face every day ‒ isolation, long periods in hospital and a fight for their life – so let’s stand together and support children with life-threatening illnesses, keep their dreams alive, and continue to allow these children to believe in the power of a dream,” said Donkin.
The Slipper Day initiative is partnered by retailer, Pick n Pay. In the run-up to next Friday, customers can buy their Slipper Day supporter sticker for R20, while Pick n Pay will also donate R10 from every pair of slippers sold at their clothing stores and supermarkets until May 7.
Pick n Pay’s transformation director Suzanne Ackerman-Berman said: “A year into lockdown, it has been a challenging time for many South Africans and even more so for the children fighting life-threatening illnesses.
“We all deserve hope during this time, and our stores are energised to once again play a role in helping make dreams come true for our brave young heroes.
“With many people still working from home and winter fast approaching, there’s no better time or reason to get a new pair of comfy slippers and do good in the process.
“There may even be those who are back in the office who want to show their support by bringing their home life a little closer to work and wearing slippers on the day,” she said.
The Independent on Saturday