sawrc hot cares blog

Here at Hot Cares, we often marvel at the number of selfless people there are out there, doing amazing things for people other than themselves.

Thanks to a mail we received from Kelly von Holdt, it’s clear that Toni Wagenaar is such a person.

Kelly calls her a “super-hero and a selfless mother”, and we can see why.

Toni works six days a week as a hairdresser, but also volunteers at the Jukskei Park Community Forum, all while looking after 24-year-old son Keagan, whose father is not involved in his life.

“From the day I first met Toni, she’s always spoken proudly of Keagan,” says Kelly. “As I got to know her, I learned that Toni has lived her life to make the world a better place for Keagan, who was diagnosed with Friedreich Ataxia (muscular and neural degenerative disease) at the age of 12.”

Keagan’s welfare rests squarely on Toni’s shoulders and this has obviously greatly impacted their lives over the years. For example, their previous home was adapted to make it completely wheelchair-friendly for Keagan, from hand-rails and a ramp into the swimming pool to bathroom adaptations and chair lifts.

Sadly, that home of 20 years – and most of their possessions – were eventually sold, as Toni and Keagan moved to the UK in a bid to receive better assistance from the NHS, due to the fact that they are both UK citizens.

Unfortunately, the move didn’t work out as hoped, with private care for Keagan costing more than anticipated. That resulted in Toni and Keagan moving back to South Africa.

“I believe that exercise cost Toni a lot of money and set her back quite a bit, financially,” says Kelly. “I know she made the decision thinking it would be best for Keagan, but it turned out that they lived a better life here with affordable help.”

Keagan really needs a new wheelchair, but the type he needs is very expensive, so Toni actually started a Backabuddy donation page on Facebook, in an attempt to raise money.

When she did that, Toni actually had a birthday coming up and on the Backabuddy page explained that instead of gifts that any friends might want to give her, she asked that people rather contribute money to Keagan’s new wheelchair.

“That, for me, shows the selflessness of Toni as a mom,” says Kelly, “and I really hope that Hot Cares can make her birthday wish come true. “The wheelchair costs R60 000 and Toni is currently R26 995 short.”

This story really touched our hearts here at Hot Cares and we’re fortunate to be in a position to help Toni on her birthday, with the gift she wants. So, we’re going to be making up that shortfall and donating R27 000 to a new wheelchair for Keegan! We hope that this goes some way to easing his pain.

If you have a programme you’d like to partner with Hot Cares on, or want to alert us to a particular story, please send an email to info@hotcares.co.za.