Where children get opportunity to live

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

"What the Walter Sisulu Cardiac Centre did for my son is truly a blessing," said Brenda Masuku as she proudly watched her son play with other children.

Born with three holes in his heart, Masuku's son Goitsong, 10, has had to undergo two operations to provide him with a lifestyle taken for granted by so many.

"He used to be so sick and short of breath that at one stage we didn't know if he would live," said the Soweto mother of four.

"When he was born I was only twenty-five weeks pregnant and he weighed less than a kilogram.

"Today he can play like any other child his age and only has to go for a check-up once every six months.

"The Centre paid for everything - the operation, medicines, aftercare and food," said Masuku.

Yesterday, Goitsong joined 28 other children from the Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa at Montecasino as they enjoyed an early Christmas at the hotel's Bird Park.

After a display featuring pelicans, owls, albatrosses and falcons, it was time to get down to the serious business of handing out presents by Father Christmas.

Excited children, some out of hospital only a few days, scrambled for their gifts and hurriedly ran back to their smiling parents, where they were eagerly opened.

Lynda Bleazard, CEO for the centre, said:

"It is not a cheap operation, but with the support of various corporations we have managed to reduce the cost of each operation to around R140000," said Bleazard.