Norman and Hennie February were like surrogate parents to me when I lived alone in South Africa. Whilst my own family were 6000 miles away, it was Hennie who sat with me and held my hand when I was rushed into hospital in the middle of the night. When I was discharged and needed nursing back to health, Hennie and Norman took me into their home, with Norman even giving up his side of their bed so Hennie could monitor me during the night. They took me in again a few months later when I was in between rental properties, treating me at all times like a daughter and making sure I understood that their home was also my own home. This was especially poignant, as their own daughter Estelle (a similar age to me) had died a few months earlier from bone cancer. In spite of their incomprehensible grief, their hearts for giving were relentless. I will never forget Estelle's funeral, where Norman made space for others to crowd around her coffin and pay their respects, whilst he selflessly stepped back and was pushed out of the frame.
Norman and Estelle were particularly close, and not long after her death Norman suffered the first of several debilitating strokes. I could only helplessly follow his progress from afar as I had returned to the UK. His condition was so serious, it looked like Hennie was about to lose him too. Norman however partially recovered, and initially spent several months in hospital, in a system where NHS style healthcare is unheard of. Every night he needed a hospital bed, Hennie was charged at a daily rate. At this point, Hennie could no longer work as Norman's condition required her constant care. Norman eventually returned home, though was re admitted to hospital intermittently. The costs continued to escalate, as Hennie tried desperately to find funds for Norman's medical bills, Physio and medication. Norman was left wheelchair bound by his last stroke, suffering full left side paralysis. He is also now incontinent which has added additional problems to an already stretched situation.
Hennie has fought desperately to keep her head above water and provide for hers and Norman's daily needs. This is without receiving carer benefits of any kind. Friends and family have been great, and have managed to pool resources together to assist Hennie in paying for Norman's initial healthcare, however such were the bills that this has left no money whatsoever for food or medical supplies. Hennie has done everything possible to get by for the last few months, but due to present circumstances is in urgent need of some funding NOW, having reached the point of empty cupboards and few options.
Indeed, as I write this appeal, Norman has again been rushed into hospital which means Hennie has to find even more money. This is putting her under enormous strain, and it is the worst feeling imaginable to listen to Hennie cry down the phone - she is usually everyone else's rock, yet now, needs someone to step up and be hers.
I have exhausted my own resources both practically and financially, and alone cannot meet all her and Norman's needs. This platform is a last ditch attempt to invite friends to be involved in the plight of two amazing people, who have dedicated their own lives to supporting others. Even a few pounds would help towards their costs, as they only need the equivalent of £50 a week to survive. I desperately want to help them live to fight on, and it would of course be wonderful to take the pressure off Hennie as she once again sits at the hospital bedside of someone she loves.
If you can, please support me in helping Norman and Hennie in their time of desperate need...just as they have helped myself and many others in ours.