Daughter beats all odds to mark 29th birthday

Khanyisile Tshabalala. Picture: Supplied

Khanyisile Tshabalala. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 8, 2024


Zodwa Tshabalala, 57, divulged intimate details about her daughter, Khanyisile Tshabalala, whose lifespan had been predicted to be extremely short due to a health condition that continues to be a challenge.

Khanyisile was born with Trisomy 18, a disorder in which babies are born with three copies of chromosome 18 instead of two, and is set to turn 29 on July 14. Most children with the condition do not live beyond the first two weeks of life, and fewer than 10% beyond the first year of life.

Looking at their daunting journey, Zodwa said she could not believe that her daughter had lived beyond her life expectancy and would soon mark her 29th birthday.

She tells people that Khanyisile is a miracle child who has survived multiple challenges, and hopes that her upcoming birthday will be celebrated in a memorable manner.

“My child has lived, and I also do not believe it. My wish is to celebrate her birthday, but financially, she is not okay. I imagine her having a jovial celebration with dancers who make the day a major highlight, with all the challenges that have happened, ” said Zodwa.

From the day that Khanyisile was born, she had experienced emotionally draining challenges and had been in and out of the hospital.

“Raising Khanyisile was not easy because her body was tiny, and I was told she would not live long because of Trisomy 18. It was my first time hearing about something like this. They also explained what Trisomy 18 is. When I was about to give birth to Khanyisile, I had unbearable pains.

“We were rushed to the ICU because her condition was not okay, and she struggled to breathe on her own. It was also discovered that her heart had a hole, and they tried to treat that as well. We were in the hospital for two months. Her whole life has been about admissions to the hospital; we would barely stay for a long time without her being hospitalised.”

Khanyisile Tshabala and Zodwa Tshabalala. Picture: Supplied

Zodwa said the condition necessitated costly medical attention. “Ever since she was born, she has used pampers, and she cannot eat food like any normal kid. I need to make soft foods with vegetables and maybe gravy. And you don’t just give her anything; I need to check how she reacts to the food. And another thing: now that she is grown, she is heavy. I don’t have assistance, and I look after her all the time. I don’t work because I need to look after her.

“Another challenging thing is that I don’t have donations; everything depends on me. When it is month-end, I also need to buy sanitary towels, pampers, and linen savers.

She frequently uses e-hailing services to get to the hospital,  because using public transport with a wheelchair adds another layer of difficulty.

Zodwa said she would be grateful for any financial assistance to help with the cost of the hospital visit and cover Khanyisile’s expenses for disposable diapers, and other necessities.

The Star

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