This is Aiden’s Story.
Meet Aiden. An active, charming, sensitive, loving, intelligent, diligent, 10 year old boy. He loves being outdoors, playing with one of their numerous pets and playing sport, be it hockey, soccer, rugby, cricket, tennis, swimming or running.
Aiden went on a school trip on Thursday 6th August 2015 to a Captive Cheetah Breeding Centre in Ladysmith, rightly expecting to be kept safe and protected. Whilst on the trip, a cheetah managed to grab hold of Aiden through the innadequate fencing after pacing up and down, rip chunks of flesh and skin off of him and puncture him with bites. All this whilst the poor child tried to punch the cheetah to free himself from its grip. Aiden's wounds were described as mere 'scratches' and not very serious - not serious enough to bring him home from the safari trip the children were immediately thereafter forced to endure. The same cheetah had attacked an elderly lady the previous day, who has just been released from ICU, but this was never disclosed until some 4 days after Aiden's event.
Now, the legalities of the event are still being investigated, the permits or lack thereof are very much in question, and legal advisors have anticipated at least a three year battle - but in the meantime Aiden has needed to seek urgent and necessary medical treatment. He was (incorrectly) treated before being returned home that day , after his parents were notified that he had been "scratched" - and only commenced receiving appropriate treatment some 10 hours after the incident, by which time his muscle had started to become necrotic.
On Friday 7th August Aiden had to undergo 2 hours of emergency surgery to repair the botched work done the day before, and to repair muscle and tissue damage caused by the severe and deep tissue wounds as a result of the numerous cheetah bites and puncture wounds, compounded by infection and inadequate initial medical procedures. From the images available, the tissue had already started dying and infection, if not attended to at that time, could have been fatal. After surgery, he stayed in hospital till Monday 10th October.
Aiden turned 10 years old on 11th August. He still has stitches in all wounds, and is seeing the surgeon weekly. He returned to school on 25 August 2015, despite still having all stitches and being on medication.
He has since started physiotherapy as he has limited mobility and function in his arm. He is ambidextrous but relies on one or other hand to fulfill certain basic daily functions (please remember he loves playing sport and also favours his left hand when writing). The physio has advised that he will need at least 10 more sessions. This is prior to reassessment by the specialist and possible and probable further surgery is indicated by the specialist surgeon who operated on Aiden on 7 August.
His current medical bills are sitting at around R70 000.00, still coming in, and the family are not on medical aid.
Aiden’s story has reached radio stations and newspapers all over the world. Social Media was horrified at the event, and for 6 days this little boy's story was analysed, reported, condemned, and speculation was rife and hurtful to those of the family members who sat back and watched a little boy suffer, without being in a position to respond on social media or otherwise.
This is the true story of a little boy who thought he was going to die; The story of a little boy on a school trip who has suffered massive emotional and physical trauma; The story of a little boy who walks away from this believing he is a super hero for trying to punch a cheetah while trying to fight for his life.
The family is not in a position to meet the demands of Aiden's medical needs. and we ask that you, or anyone you know, please make any contribution that you can possibly make towards his medical bills and quick recovery.
Please become one of Aiden’s International Angels. Help this little boy get the treatment he needs and deserves so he can get back out on the sports field and get back to doing what little boys should be doing and that is having fun!
The future medical bills cannot be estimated as there appears to be a dislodged bone in his left shoulder, which cannot be assessed by an orthopedic surgeon until the infection is clear. Aiden, having grown up with wildlife, (although too terrified to touch one of the household dogs now) would wish for any surplus funds to be placed into a conservation trust for the benefit of freeing captive wildlife.
Our chosen organisation would be Wildlands SA, headed up by CEO Dr Andrew Venter, and who are involved at an extremely high level in conservation, be it recycling, wildlife, sustainable education, and the like. A bit more below.The Wildlands vision is simple : A sustainable future for all. Working on the philosophical understanding that human well-being is dependent on environmental health, Wildlands has adopted a CEBA (Community Ecosystems Based Adaptation) model as philosophical construct and organising principle
Wildlands partners are vital to helping achieve their goals. They are listed as either Donors (who have donated more than R100 000 in the last financial year), Sponsors (who have sponsored one or more of our events to the value of R100 000 or more in the last financial year) or Strategic Partners (partners who work closely with one another to achieve their conservation goals). You can learn more about their partnerships here.
Cruel, barbaric, macabre – all words used by Australian MPs about lion farming and the canned lion hunting industry in SA. Our campaign was glad to be able to assist and participate in a full length documentary that aims to expose a brutal industry whose whole business model is routine, egregious cruelty to helpless animals – for fun.
Chris Mercer, Founder, CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting)
Blood Lions - BRED FOR THE BULLET™ Every single day in South Africa at least two to three captive bred or tame lions are being killed in canned hunts. And hundreds more are slaughtered annually for the lion bone trade. The Blood Lions story is a compelling call to action to have these practices stopped and currently making news headlines globally. Produced by Dr Andrew Venter, Blood Lions focuses on captive breeding of predators for any number of reasons - conservation seems not to be on the list of priorities to the breeding projects.
Currently, almost 8 000 predators are being held in cages or confined areas, and none of this has anything to do with conservation. If we don’t act now, that number could well be over 12 000 within the next few years. You can take action now. By supporting Aiden's Campaign, you will be lending your voice to the voiceless.
I support the making of the documentary on our wildlife because I am a conservationists at heart and also a concerned individual who believes that something must be done to raise the awareness and let the entire world know that we are not in accord with what is happening to our heritage. I agreed to be interview because I have the voice and I realise that I have a part to play in collaboration with the many who are striving to save our precious animals like the Rhino and Lions.
Sibusiso Vilane, Inspirational Speaker, Mountaineer,marathon runner and Adventurer. Author of "To the top from Nowhere." Chief Scout of South Africa
Thank you for reading. Your help and assistance is greatly appreciated.