Five-year-old Travonne Rhoda of Kraaifontein has bronchiolitis obliterans. Picture: Courtney Africa African News Agency (ANA)
Five-year-old Travonne Rhoda of Kraaifontein has bronchiolitis obliterans. Picture: Courtney Africa African News Agency (ANA)

Breath of festive cheer for family as sickly Travonne spends Christmas at home

By Keagan Mitchell Time of article published Jan 5, 2020

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Cape Town - Travonne Rhoda’s family received the greatest Christmas gift this festive season.

For the first time in three years, five-year-old Travonne spent Christmas and New Year’s Day with his loved ones.

In 2017, he was diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as ‘popcorn lung’, which obstructs the smallest airways in the lungs and he spent Christmas and New Year’s Day in 2017 and 2018 in hospital.

Last May, the Kraaifontein resident relapsed and had to be intubated for a seventh time in eight months and his family feared he might spend another festive season under observation.

“It felt amazing. Going into the new year with him at home was the first time in three years. I never thought we’d be here last year,” Travonne’s mother, Simone, said.

“To see how he enjoyed himself made my heart smile. We wanted to initially go to the beach but everywhere was full. We ended up having a picnic at Green Point Urban Park.

“It was not so crowded and he loved every minute of it.

Five-year-old Travonne Rhoda of Kraaifontein has bronchiolitis obliterans, which makes it difficult for him to breathe without oxygen being pumped into his lungs, which leads to regular stays in the hospital. Picture: Courtney Africa African News Agency (ANA)

“Having him around on these special days was such a blessing. He had such a good time with family and friends and didn’t really want to go back to hospital. On the 26th, we took him to the mall and he loved every moment of it. Spending time with him in our own space was really something special. He coped really well at home.”

She described Travonne as an amazing boy with a heart of gold.

“Once you get to know him, you fall in love instantly.

“He has a fighting spirit that I’ve never seen before. He is truly our ray of sunshine,” Simone said.

“It just shows how amazing our God can be. I am a firm believer that God will never bring you to it if he can’t bring you through it.

“We need to make sure that (Travonne) goes from strength to strength and see him discharged. We hope to bring him to an age where a transplant might be possible,” she added.

Shameema Adams, group marketing manager at Melomed Private Hospitals, said: “Our first and foremost concern was to ensure that Travonne was medically fit to allow him to be sent home for some time.

“Preparation and schedules were provided and approved by the doctors.

“We were satisfied with his condition and progress and therefore allowed the request by his parents.

“Melomed staff and doctors were on standby during this period.

“Travonne returned to hospital on January 2.”

Weekend Argus

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