Kyle Skidmore, an 18 year old dedicated student from Glenwood Boys High, was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant in order to have a second chance at life. He was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening condition called aplastic anaemia at the age of 13. It is a condition in which the body does not produce enough new blood cells, leaving the patient feeling fatigued, at a higher risk of infection and uncontrolled bleeding. As a result of his condition, Kyle had to be admitted into hospital every 10 days for a blood transfusion and could no longer participate in any of the sporting activities that he loved.
His grandparents, who look after him, were struggling to find enough money, not only for his treatment, but for the trip to Cape Town, where he was to receive treatment for a month, and accommodation whilst there. Glenwood High School’s Chairman of the Governing Body, Mike Knipe, wrote in to the ECR Big Favour to see if they could help. During October 2011, through our involvement in the Annual ECR Toy Story, ECR contacted us to ask if we would be able to assist. Without a moment’s hesitation, we gladly obliged. A travel management company was able to sponsor the family’s flights but they still required assistance with accommodation and transport. During a live broadcast on ECR’s Big Favour, hosted by Damon Beard, on 25 October 2011, Lauren Bonhomme, Group HR Manager, made a pledge on behalf of Three Cities that we would provide accommodation and transport for the family, at no cost, for as long as it was required.
Fortunately, through various private and corporate fund-raising initiatives, sufficient funds were raised for Kyle’s treatment and a suitable donor was found in Germany. Miraculously, out of a pool of 250 potential donors, the first volunteer that was tested was a perfect match! Kyle’s bone marrow stem cell transplant took place on 11 January 2012 at the UCT Academic Hospital. Thereafter, he had to undergo chemotherapy. Prior to his transplant, in December he had to undergo a number of tests at the hospital. During this time, the family, being Kyle and his grandparents, were graciously hosted by The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel. General Manager Chris Godenir and his team ensured that they were all well looked after. During the period of his transplant and subsequent recovery, the family was hosted by Inn On The Square, which soon became a home away from home for them as a result of the care and consideration provided by the team on the ground.
Unfortunately, Kyle’s road to recovery has not been smooth sailing, but this amazingly brave, determined and resilient young man is now on the mend. It is anticipated that he will be well enough to be able return to Durban on 18 June 2012, almost five months after his transplant.
We all wish him well with his recovery and the new chapter in his life!