The Zane Project is bringing light, laughter and education to kids in Johannesburg's burn units.
Photo Cred: The Zane Project | Supplied

The Zane Project is bringing joy, laughter and education to kids in Johannesburg’s burn units.


Johannesburg, South Africa (04 February 2022) – The Zane Project is heading to hospitals around Johannesburg (and hopefully soon to more of South Africa), delivering toys, and cheer to kids in burn units.

Transplant Education for Living Legacies (TELL) in collaboration with Surgeons for Little Lives gifted children in the Paediatric Burn Unit, a Zane education toy… delivered by Zane himself.

Individuals and corporates shared their spare funds and enabled TELL to purchase enough Zane toys to do their very first hospital visit. The Zane Project’s aim is to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. Zane is an educational toy made by the Rare Bear Project, part of Rare Diseases SA and we found that by using Zane’s story, children understand organ and tissue donation and don’t find the concept frightening.

TELL has been sponsored a Zane mascot valued at R20,000 by Mascots SA. This mascot will spend his days telling kids how important it is to SHARE THEIR SPARE and how being born different is ok. Travis Kruger was gracious enough to agree to be our ‘Zane’.

Zane (aka Travis Kruger), Fawn Kruger and Stella de Kock visited the unit on Wednesday, 2nd February at 12:00. The team arrived at the unit and were welcomed by a group of lovely nurses. Fawn did a quick talk to introduce The Zane Project to the nurses and explained how TELL hoped Zane would make sick kids feel more normal. TELL believes conversations like these are key in spreading organ and tissue donation awareness. The nurses were intrigued by the cause and were all very excited to take a few photos with Zane.

“Once the talk was done, Zane was led to the main ward, where the bulk of the patients are admitted to recover. Most of them were sleeping when TELL arrived as they have sustained severe burns, which has resulted in them needing to be bandaged from head to toe and presumably in a lot of pain. There were 4 kids awake to whom Zane gently waved at and handed over a toy to each of them. They seemed nervous but curious, and TELL hoped that later they would find some comfort in having their own little friend keep them company. Next, the team walked through the ICU section, where the children are kept in isolation rooms that TELL were not allowed into. It is a terribly emotional site to peer through the windows and see these tiny little humans suffering. One of the nurses commented that the unit was actually not very busy and that during winter, they get an influx of critical patients.”

TELL may not have been able to make a dent to the 500 children admitted annually to the Paediatric Burn Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, but they hoped to have at least made a difference to the 15 children they saw on Wednesday.

The Zane Project is bringing light, laughter and education to kids in Johannesburg's burn units.
Photo Cred: The Zane Project | Supplied

Burn wounds

According to the Centre for Tissue Engineering (CTE),” the need for human skin for the treatment of burn victims is enormous. An estimated 12% of all unnatural deaths are attributable to burn wounds in South Africa, and tragically this is the most common external cause of death in children less than 4 years old. These deaths occur due to the severity of the burns, but more so because there are no effective, affordable synthetic treatment options available to patients.”

Skin donation

Skin grafts are the gold standard in treating burn wounds to minimise scarring and promote healing. Small children in particular need skin grafts as a small burn or scald can cover most of their body. The main function of skin is to retain moisture, regulate body temperature, protect the body from bacteria and other harmful elements. Burn wounds must be dressed to prevent dehydration and infection. By applying donor skin to burn wounds, the body recognises the skin as human tissue, sees it as the patient’s own, and accepts it.

Zane’s Next Visit

TELL appreciates the donations received that made it possible to gift a Zane to the children in the burns unit. Now they plan to visit the paediatric ward at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre on Wednesday, 16 February 2022, to hand out Zane toys to children awaiting a kidney transplant or recovering from a transplant.

If you wish to make a donation and help TELL spread more joy to SA children in need of a skin or organ transplant, please use the banking details below. Each Zane soft toy costs R250.

Name: Transplant Education for Living Legacies NPO
Bank: First National Bank (FNB)
Account type: Cheque
Account no: 62818725775
Branch code: 250655
Reference: Zane

Donations can also be made via YOCO

Please visit TELL’s social media pages @tellorgza or website at for more information about organ and tissue donation.

Sources: TELL 
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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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