Dad’s front row bed at son's wedding

Frikkie Grobelaar alongside ER24 paramedics who ferried him to his son's wedding.
Frikkie Grobelaar alongside ER24 paramedics who ferried him to his son's wedding.
Image: ER24

A bed-ridden man's dream of attending his son's wedding has been fulfilled.

Earlier this month‚ ER24 paramedics from the Western Cape dusted off their ambulance‚ exchanged their standard white sheets for dark grey ones to fit in with the colour scheme of the wedding and ferried 62-year-old Frikkie Grobbelaar to the wedding venue so that he wouldn't miss his son's special day.

The medics gave Frikkie a front row position at the venue‚ keeping watch throughout the ceremony to ensure that he was okay.

"We transported him from the house to the church‚ to the venue and back to the house again. We were at his side the whole day. It was an emotional day not just for the guests but for us too. It was a privilege to be able to help‚” said Andrew‚ one of two paramedics who kept watch over Grobbelaar on the day.

The ambulance service said Grobbelaar's wife‚ Maria‚ had called them in September to enquire about hiring an ambulance for the day.

The bridal couple, Jeandre and his wife, Nicole.
The bridal couple, Jeandre and his wife, Nicole.
Image: ER24

“I explained to her that‚ unfortunately‚ it is quite expensive but that I would try and make a plan. Only afterwards did she explain why she needed it and for who. So‚ I decided to pay the family a visit in Sedgefield‚" said Johann Prinsloo‚ ER24 Southern Cape branch manager.

“After meeting the family and realising the full extent of Frikkie’s illness‚ I knew I had to help them some way or another‚" said Prinsloo.

Grobbelaar was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) which causes the nerves in the spine and brain to progressively lose function. Within months of his diagnosis‚ he had deteriorated drastically‚ initially being confined to a wheelchair before being left bed-ridden.

"I told [the family] that ER24 would sponsor the ambulance for the day and we would make sure that he is taken care of from the beginning to the end. Everyone started crying‚ and it was just a very emotional moment for all especially for Jaendré who desperately wanted his dad to be at the wedding‚” said Prinsloo.

The groom‚ Jaendré‚ said it was important for him and his partner Nicole to have his father at the ceremony. The couple had even sped up the preparations for their wedding to ensure that dad Frikkie was around for the big day.

“Initially‚ we wanted to transport my dad to the wedding in a vehicle‚ but he wasn’t too keen about it. We started phoning around for an ambulance‚ but the quotations we received were completely out of our budget. We started feeling quite defeated. It meant so much to us as a family when Johann delivered the news that dad would be able to attend our wedding and that he would be cared for‚” said Jaendré.

Everything worked out perfectly for their special day.

“My dad couldn’t stop smiling. At first‚ I was worried that our wedding might be a bit difficult for him as he wouldn’t be able to dance or sit‚ but I think everything worked out wonderfully. I think he genuinely appreciated being at the wedding‚" said Jaendré.

"Having my dad at my wedding truly made it the best day of my life.”