Young man gets a hand up

TO THE FUTURE: Bursary recipient Daniel Dos Santos (18), with his parents Carlos (back left) and Veronika (back right) and Andolyn Botha from Boston City Campus & Business College, Sr Sheryl Newman from Stepping Stone Hospice and Phumi Muronga from Boston City Campus & Business College.

WHAT started out as a Facebook plea by Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services in New Market Park to help a patient’s son further his studies has culminated in a full bursary offer from Boston City Campus & Business College in Alberton.

“On 3 April, we posted the story of 18-year-old Daniel Dos Santos from Dinwiddie, Germiston who was left paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident in 2014, which also claimed the life of his sister,” says Stepping Stone Hospice’s marketing manager, Kerry Johnston. “His mum, Veronika, who is a registered out-patient of Stepping Stone Hospice and his dad, Carlos, who looks after her full-time, were not in a position to help Daniel study further, so we put word out on the family’s behalf, in the hope that somebody in the community would perhaps assist him with a bursary or even an internship towards a career in IT.”

The story was shared, people were tagged, the post was liked and commented on and eventually had a reach of 22 604 people. One of these ‘connections’ came from Leanne Jamie, who tagged her friend Kerriegan Damons, who just so happens to be the marketing manager at Boston City Campus & Business College.

Kerriegan got in touch with Sr Sheryl Newman, clinical services manager at Stepping Stone Hospice and put her in touch with Andolyn Botha, the branch manager of the college’s Alberton campus. Plans were put into motion and on the morning of April 11, Daniel and his parents were surprised at Stepping Stone’s In-Patient Unit by Andolyn, along with Phumi Muronga (senior training adviser at Boston), who presented Daniel with a full bursary certificate to study an IT course of his choice at Boston City Campus & Business College.

“Stepping Stone Hospice is very close to my heart,” said Andolyn at the handover. Her uncle, Edward Bedser, passed away at the hospice’s In-Patient Unit in February this year. “He received such great care and we were able to spend quality time with him before he passed.”

For Daniel, who rowed and played hockey as a Jeppe Boy prior to the accident and who remains as active as possible by going to the gym regularly and even driving on his own, this opportunity is something he didn’t see coming. “I feel completely overwhelmed and buzzing on the inside,” he said.

You would expect someone that’s been through so much to be somewhat cynical about life, but not Daniel… “I’m not a negative person. I’m a funny guy that pushes himself and always looks for the positive side of things. My story doesn’t define me. I’m very excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to start.”

“This gift will go down as one of my highlights of 2017,” says Sr Sheryl Newman, who brought the Dos Santos family’s story to the attention of the marketing team at Stepping Stone. “We take care of our patients holistically, which means being aware of all the areas where we can be of assistance to them. It’s a model of care that extends to our patients’ families as well; to see to it that they are also supported. Daniel needed a hand up to start his adult life and now he has one.”

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