Date: 04 April 2008 By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Dead or alive? This is the question asked by almost all people who have seen the picture of this young boy.
The answer to the question is that the boy is very much alive and very energetic. He has been afflicted by a rare disease since he was very young and it seems that the situation is moving from bad to worse as he develops one infection after another.
For Dakalo Ramakokovhu (5) of Masisi, life has been misery. He was born with a rare disease that has led him to a life of unhappiness, with other children avoiding him like the plague. It all started as black spots spreading all over his body, as well as excessive diarrhoea. In four months in 2002, it has developed to what he is today.
Nthambeleni Sivhugwana, his mother, said she took the baby to the hospital where he was treated and discharged. "After being discharged, it became worse as he developed eye problems and could not see. He was admitted at Elim hospital," she said.
The sad mother said he was transferred to Mankweng hospital for specialized treatment, but things just became worse. He was transferred from one hospital to the next as his condition worsened. He was admitted at the Kalafong hospital in 2006. He was diagonised with a rare skin cancer, zero derma pigmentosa. The boy has been in and out of the hospital ever since. His mother said her son developed some sores in the mouth in 2007. He was operated on and his condition improved. Sivhugwana said she was happy to see an improvement in the boy´s condition, but this happiness was short-lived, as his tongue became big and started protruding from his mouth. The eyes also started protruding, with liquid always dripping from the eyes.
The boy had to be operated on the neck as it was discovered that the lymph glands were damaged. Ms Sivhugwana said they have tried all kinds of medicine. "Doctors have tried everything in the book and have admitted that it is a rare and difficult disease to treat. The boy is still undergoing treatment at Kalafong and goes for checkups once or twice a month".
The indigent mother is appealing to any specialist who can help her son out of his misery. "I am on my own and not working. I cannot afford medical costs and I am battling to make ends meet," she said. Sivhugwana said the boy´s health was deteriorating daily and this had put a lot of strain on her. "The boy is active as one sees him, but I have to be always near him as he needs attention all the time. I dread seeing my son wasting away, going to a point of no return. Please help me," she pleaded.
Anybody who is willing to help or make a contribution can contact Sivhugwana at 076 013 2004.
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.