Brave Girl Facing The Odds

By Sherole Webster

Chade van Niekerk has spent most of her life in the children’s wards of different hospitals in Jo’burg before she was officially diagnosed with a rare digestive system disorder in 2014.

This 6-year-old girl, suffers from hollow visceral myopathy. What this means, is that her internal muscles no longer have the ability to push food through her body and absorb nutrients. To add to this, little Chade is also anaemic.

Although Chade faces her mortality on a daily basis, she is still a talkative little girl who often questioned why she could not attend school much like her peers who unlike her, do not have a stoma bag attached to their abdomens. She was able to attend school for 17 days prior to undergoing major operations and it was clear to her parents that she loved the experience.

In an interview held with the Cape Argus, Chade noted that, “The doctor said I am going to die. I told him it is fine.” In a bid to increase the lifespan of this little girl, it was of the utmost important to ensure she received medical attention from the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town. Being residents of Jo’burg and facing exorbitant medical bills especially after Chade’s mother, Charlotte, losing her job; the family was in desperate need of financial assistance.

Club Travel’s director Wally Gaynor heard of the plight of this brave young girl and vowed to assist. Club Travel sponsored 3 flight tickets for the family between Jo’burg and Cape Town to ensure that Charmaine was able to attend to pressing legal matters while most importantly ensuring that Chade did not miss the opportunity to meet with the doctors at the Red Cross Hospital. Numerous other donations were made to the family by various individuals to ensure that their stay in Cape Town was as smooth as possible.

In difficult situations such as these where there seems to be no hope, humanity often forgets (even for a brief moment) it’s self-serving ways to rise and meet the needs of those in need of a miracle.

We wish Chade all the best on her journey and commend her fighting spirit.

Chade van Niekerk 2


*Article adapted from IOL –