Hot Cares Christmas – Shooting Survivor Gifted Prosthetic Eye and Tools of Trade This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Shooting Survivor Gifted Prosthetic Eye and Tools of Trade This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Shooting Survivor Gifted Prosthetic Eye and Tools of Trade This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Shooting Survivor Gifted Prosthetic Eye and Tools of Trade This Festive Season

While some people look forward to end-of-year parties and the Christmas holidays, there are others who dread this traditional time to take stock and look back on the past year’s accomplishments – or lack thereof.

It’s well-documented that depression around this time of year is prevalent and that’s why this story is so important.

It’s a story of second chances and it’s the story of Michael, who has battled addiction and depression and found himself in an incredibly dark place in May this year, according to friend Lindsay.

“He was powerless to stop it and in a state of utter desperation and insanity, he shot himself in the head, hoping to put an end to his anguish,” she said.

Apparently, the survival rate of such a catastrophic event is around 1%, but Michael miraculously pulled through, thanks to some amazing doctors at Helen Joseph Hospital. 

“He actually ‘died’ on the operating table, but the doctors fought hard and he was revived,” said Lindsay.

Michael was moved to Charlotte Mxeke Hospital, where he also received amazing care, and was eventually discharged after a series of operations and procedures, having lost an eye. 

“He underwent three massive operations in quick succession and his jaw was left dangling, awaiting the swelling to subside to enable the maxillofacial surgeon to wire the lower part of his face back together,” said Lindsay. “This he endured for six weeks, dropping an amazing 17 kilograms, whilst limited to a liquid diet.”

According to Lindsay, Michael realised that he had been given a second chance and set about rebuilding his shattered life. He’s 54, has kids, and has been able to tentatively resume working, with his passion being fixing laptops and MacBooks, albeit now at a slower pace. 

“Michael has always been such a kind, generous person, but never asks for anything, as he feels he has been blessed with enough,” said Lindsay. “However, he really does need a prosthetic eye and the balance of his follow-up treatments, but has not been able to raise the funds.”

Michael is also, apparently, acutely aware that his current exposed eye socket is not pleasant for others to view.

“He has endured this tragedy with humour and grace, because he is just so grateful to be alive,” said Lindsay. “I also believe his story highlights the urgent issues we as a community have to address with regards depression, mental illness and addiction.”

Hot Cares couldn’t agree more and that’s why we’ve contacted an ocularist to ensure he can get the prosthetic eye he needs, which apparently will also assist Michael in combatting the facial droop he’s currently experiencing.

We’re going to cover that entire cost, but also throw in something else.

Lindsay told us that Michael desperately wants an electron microscope to help him with his fixing of computers and microchips, so we’re adding that to the present pile!

Merry Christmas, Michael!

Hot Cares Christmas – Star Pupil Gets the Gift of a Varsity Education This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Star Pupil Gets the Gift of a Varsity Education This Festive Season

Star Pupil Gets the Gift of a Varsity Education

Hot Cares Christmas – Star Pupil Gets the Gift of a Varsity Education This Festive Season

If Unathi Tong is the future of South Africa, then this country is in good hands.

Who is Unathi Tong?

Well, she’s someone Hot Cares has come to know over the last three years, since we were first approached to help her out with a school blazer, so that she could wear one with her achievement scrolls on it.

“That was Grade nine in 2019 and Hot Cares was so impressed with this young lady that we sponsored Unathi’s education – school fees, uniforms, textbooks, stationery, school outings etc – for her last three years at Princess High School,” says Carmen Rocha, Managing Director of Hot Cares.

Our faith in Unathi looked well-placed when she was named Head Girl for her final year, which was just reward for her commitment to her schooling over the past three years.

“We all know that Covid was tough on all of us, especially students and those living in informal settlements, who need electricity for studying,” says Carmen. 

Hot Cares often checked in on Unathi, but she never complained and only asked for extra maths lessons to ensure she did not fall behind. We also set Unathi up with a laptop and software, to make sure she had all the tools needed to fulfil her potential.  

Unathi has put in a lot of hard work over her last few months of matric and is eagerly awaiting her results, but she remains confident, having achieved an average of 79% leading up to her finals.

“Again, all she has asked for is extra lessons and assistance to attend a leadership camp, along with assistance with paying for university entrance exams,” says Carmen. “Unathi’s focus is on getting into university to study a BCom in economics – the first step in reaching her ultimate goal of becoming Governor of the Reserve Bank!”

We’re blown away by Unathi’s commitment to her studies, along with her responsibility and ambition, and Hot Cares feels that this is a bright young woman who deserves all the help she gets.

We believe that starts with a celebration for her excellent results, so we’re treating Unathi and her friends to a day – including dinner – at Gold Reef City, which she’s always wanted to visit.

In terms of her future, we just want to be part of it and have loved witnessing this beautiful young lady maximising the opportunity given to her.

We have no doubt that she has a great future ahead of her!

We also know that Unathi has explored bursary opportunities, but we want to take that stress off her plate and allow her to concentrate on her studies, so Hot Cares will be covering Unathi’s three-year BCom degree! This will include tuition, accommodation in res, meals, textbooks and all other educational resources that she might need!

We are so proud of Unathi and have absolutely no doubt that she will make a success of whatever she goes on to do!

Merry Christmas, Unathi!

Hot Cares Christmas – Struggling Youngster Gets Gift of Vital Dialysis Treatment This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Struggling Youngster Gets Gift of Vital Dialysis Treatment This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Struggling Youngster Gets Gift of Vital Dialysis Treatment This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Struggling Youngster Gets Gift of Vital Dialysis Treatment This Festive Season

There really is nothing quite like a mother’s love and here at Hot Cares we get reminders of this on an almost daily basis.

Mothers who would do absolutely anything and everything for their children.

But, with that, we also see incredible pain with some of the stories we receive, particularly when see a mother who seemingly can’t help their child, or one who is desperate for any sort of lifeline.

Corné is such a mother and when Parky and Dyl of The Big Joburg Drive on HOT 102.7FM spoke with her on the phone, all of these elements were front and centre.

Corné’s story – and that of her daughter Carla – reached us as part of the Hot Cares Christmas and our hearts go out to them.

It came from a member of Carla’s medical team, who told us that she had been diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure.

“My wish is to get financial assistance for Carla for her to see the new year,” said the email. 

22-year-old Carla is a diabetic and has high blood pressure. As a result of the diabetes, she has developed kidney failure, with her kidney function sitting at around 7% at the moment! 

“Carla’s situation is not unique in South Africa and unfortunately a lot of people like her die because they can’t access the medical care they need,” said the medical team member. “The state hospitals will only go the dialysis route if a patient is eligible for a transplant. A dialysis session costs R2000 and a patient typically needs three sessions a week. Because of Carla’s longstanding diabetes, she doesn’t qualify to access dialysis via the state.”

Corné did apply for a hospital plan for Carla, but there is a waiting period because of her pre-existing condition. The plan only kicks in in April, which means she’ll only be able to start dialysis then.

This puts Carla in a very risky situation, as she could deteriorate any time and would then have to get a permanent catheter put in to receive dialysis. She has, apparently, seen a nephrologist who has prescribed medication to lower Carla’s blood pressure, get rid of the fluid build-up, and increase her hemoglobin. These meds are pretty expensive, in the region of R4500 a month.

“Corné’s financial position is dire and she is totally stressed out, because she cannot afford treatment for her child,” said the email. “I would really appreciate it if you would consider Carla’s case for financial assistance until her hospital plan kicks in.”

Corné has apparently borrowed money from family members, just so Carla can get some dialysis treatment, but it’s not enough. What she, ideally, needs is dialysis three times a week.

According to Parky and Dyl, they could hear the desperation and pain in Corné’s voice and that’s just one of the reasons why Hot Cares wants to help Carla and Corné this Christmas.

We’re going to be covering the dialysis for the next few months until April when the medical aid is due to kick in. That will ensure that Carla gets those three sessions a week for a total of 16 weeks!

Approximate value – R100 000!

Merry Christmas, Corné and Carla! We hope this makes this season a bit more festive for you. Stay strong and keep fighting!

Hot Cares Christmas – Amazing Volunteer Rescue Team Gets Costs Covered This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Amazing Volunteer Rescue Team Gets Costs Covered This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Amazing Volunteer Rescue Team Gets Costs Covered This Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – Amazing Volunteer Rescue Team Gets Costs Covered This Festive Season

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 1.3 million people die each year worldwide as a result of road traffic crashes and 93% of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low and middle-income countries, even though these countries have only 60% of the world’s vehicles.

Incredible numbers and it’s no surprise to hear that South Africa is among the worst countries in the world, with regards road death numbers, making this story even more important.

It reached us via Peter, who is a member of a rescue team of volunteers, who patrol the N3 highway between Villiers and Van Reenen’s Pass during peak travel season, such as this upcoming Christmas. The Warden area within that is considered one of the most dangerous stretches of road in South Africa, because it is straight and people often fall asleep at the wheel.

“I am writing to you guys as a last resort, as we fear that after 15 years we might have to stop servicing the public on the N3, as we have no money left to move forward,” he said.

They go down approximately five times a year and typically stay in basic accommodation for two days then come back. They are generally a team of 4-6, which includes two rescue technicians who are medically proficient, 2-3 highly-qualified paramedics, and most times a trauma doctor. They have at their disposal four helicopters from Johannesburg and Bloemfontein and also have a trauma counsellor on most trips.

“Some scenes, as you can imagine, are pretty hectic,” said Peter.

“None of our professionals have ever been paid for any trip and they do this as a way to give back to the community for the privilege they are afforded to help people. Many a time we have treated patients for two hours on our own with multiple casualties, before any other help arrives.”

The Netcare staff put in for leave every time they go down and the response car from the Free State (the Netcare regional manager) joins the team at his own cost.

“Please accept that I am by no means asking for the full amount, but any monthly contribution would be greatly appreciated,” said Peter.

Wow! People like this who give of their own free time just to help others in serious need are truly special and we take our hats off to Peter and his team.

Hot Cares was adamant that we wanted to help, so we didn’t hesitate when this request came across our desk, particularly as we head into peak season, and the roads get even more dangerous.

The cost per trip for the team is approximately R15 000, which includes accommodation, petrol, food, medical supplies, toll gates, and rescue supplies, and Hot Cares would like to step in to cover that for two trips in the coming months.

On top of that, we believe the team is also looking for their own AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machine, so we’re going to be throwing that in, as well, as a bit of a sweetener.

Total value – approximately R50 000!

We hope this goes some way to contributing to the incredible work of these amazing people this festive season. You guys are inspiring!

Hot Cares Christmas – Youngster Gets the Tools He Needs to Make SA a Better Place

Hot Cares Christmas – Youngster Gets the Tools He Needs to Make SA a Better Place

Hot Cares Christmas – Youngster Gets the Tools He Needs to Make SA a Better Place

Hot Cares Christmas – Youngster Gets the Tools He Needs to Make SA a Better Place

The late Whitney Houston sang, “I believe the children are our future”, whilst former President Nelson Mandela once said, “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people.”

If only Mandela and Houston had the opportunity to meet 17-year-old Saul Fox, because if he represents the future of South Africa, then our country is in good hands.

This is a young boy going into his final year of school at Yeshiva College, after which he’d like to study Biomedical Engineering, and what he’s trying to achieve is remarkable and will improve the lives of so many people.

Saul’s story started when his school received a 3D printer for students to use, and he started to experiment with it.  This introduced him to 3D printing and design, and he discovered a costume accessory that was a finger extension. This apparently made him wonder if the same idea would work for someone who didn’t have fingers, which, in turn, led him to e-Nable, which is “an online global community of ‘Digital Humanitarian’ volunteers from all over the world, who are using 3D printers to make free and low-cost prosthetic upper limb devices for children and adults in need.”

The open-source designs created by e-Nable volunteers help those who were born missing their fingers and hands, or who have lost them due to war, natural disaster, illness or accidents. There are approximately 40 000 e-Nable volunteers in over 100 countries and they have delivered free hands and arms to an estimated 10 000-15 000 recipients who have little to no access to medical care.

Incredibly, though, barely anyone is doing this in South Africa, which got Saul thinking – something he relayed to Big Joburg Drive team members, Simon Parkinson and Dylan Rogers, when he visited HOT 102.7FM for a chat.

“A big part of getting a prosthetic is making it part of yourself, and being able to customise the prosthetics to the patient’s size and liking is important,” said Saul, who has conducted extensive research into what is needed to make these prosthetics from 3D printing. That has included consulting a range of experts, including an orthopaedic surgeon, a hand occupational therapist, and Tahirah Mangera, Biomedical Engineering lecturer at Wits University, who pointed him towards the Jumping Kids NGO, which supplies and maintains prosthetic equipment for children living with lower limb amputation or limb-related disability.

This has opened Saul’s eyes to the incredible need out there and instead of viewing the 3D printing of prosthetic limbs as a potential business opportunity, he wants to rather use it to help people and give those who can’t afford this equipment access at little or no cost.

But, he can’t do it alone and needs the money to finance his dream. To get his project off the ground he needs: a laptop, printer, software, ‘fingertips’, various hardware items, medical foam and other accessories, totalling an amount of just over R60 000.  

Both Hot Cares and the Dis-Chem Foundation want to keep Saul’s dream alive and that’s why we’re coming together to completely cover the full cost of this project, to the tune of R65 000!

You go, Saul! Do us proud and change the world!

Hot Cares Christmas – CLAW Given the Gift of Valuable Wheels this Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – CLAW Given the Gift of Valuable Wheels this Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – CLAW Given the Gift of Valuable Wheels this Festive Season

Hot Cares Christmas – CLAW Given the Gift of Valuable Wheels this Festive Season

There really are some fantastic organisations out there – those that help the needy and are often full of big-hearted volunteers who give of their time and energy for no material gain.

They include some incredible animal welfare organisations and Hot Cares has been fortunate to build outstanding relationships with some of them.

“Unfortunately, funding is always an issue and on a regular basis Hot Cares receives requests to help a variety of animal organisations with vet bills, food etc. And, whilst we would love to help everyone, it is just not possible, nor sustainable,” says Carmen Rocha, Managing Director of Hot Cares.

CLAW is a great example of an animal welfare organisation doing great work.

They are a welfare organization renowned for their pioneering spirit and driving community-based primary veterinary care in South Africa. They offer all sorts of services to the community, including sterilization, vaccination, parasite and pest prevention, emergency care and pet owner education. 

They fulfil such a need in the community, particularly in informal settlements, where there are thousands of animals lacking basic healthcare.

Pet owners in disadvantaged communities love their pets just as much as anywhere else, but pets suffer from poverty the same way their owners do and without the means to provide proper care, pets can be vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and abandonment.

CLAW used to have mobile units that would go out weekly to various informal areas, but with limited finances they can’t afford the staff nor the expenses anymore for this outreach programme.

This means that people now have to travel to the clinic. The problem with this is that pet owners often have to walk long distances with their sick or injured animals, as they don’t have their own transport and are not allowed animals on taxis, for example.

This is often not a safe exercise and Hot Cares really feels for these owners who don’t have the means and transport to get their animals the help they really need, particularly if the situation requires multiple visits to CLAW in Durban Deep.

So, CLAW has found itself in the situation where a solution was needed to help these pet owners and their animals get to the clinic quickly and safely.

So, the team at Hot Cares put their heads together to come up with that solution, with regards what would make a material difference to CLAW this Christmas.

And we came up with the Bajaj!

That’s right, the Bajaj three-wheeler ‘auto rickshaw’ or ‘tuk-tuk’, as you might know it.

Hot Cares will be buying this awesome little Bajaj for the ‘CLAW Patrol’, which will be used as a shuttle service for sick animals. We will also be donating R5000 to CLAW for the purchasing of cages for the overnight admission of animals, ensuring they can stay and receive the treatment needed.

Total approximate value – just over R70 000!

We hope that makes some sort of difference to CLAW this Christmas and plays some role in ensuring they can continue doing the amazing work they do.

Merry Christmas, CLAW!