Every now and then there are moments of light so bright that they remind us that people are inherently good and heart, kindness and humanness do exist; it restores our faith and gives us the strength to go on.
Johannesburg, South Africa (09 September 2020) – This is not a sponsored article by Momentum but it is a story that I need to tell. One that has restored my faith in the humanness behind big organisations.
What the world needs now more than ever is more heart, more kindness, more love and more humanness.
This thing we are going through is so incredibly tragic. It feels as though we are in an ocean, and the waves keep hitting, with no end in sight. But every now and then there are moments of light so bright that they remind us that people are inherently good and heart, kindness and humanness do exist; it restores our faith and gives us the strength to go on.
The last 24 hours have done just that for me… but to truly understand this story, we need to look back to a phone call I received in the first 48 days of the hard lockdown in South Africa.
On the 14th of May 2020 my phone rang… Sam Cowen was on the other end and absolutely heartbroken. A little baby was born on the 29th of April this year but was diagnosed with a heart condition and needed surgery urgently to save her life. Her medical aid had refused to move her to a private hospital or to perform the surgery. The family had been fighting with them since the day she was born, and it seemed they had lost as the baby was being taken off the machines keeping her alive.
“She is only 16 days old, but Bonitas has declined the surgery, and she has now been taken off her meds and machines. I’m sure they have their reasons, but there may still be time to help her. We are looking at hours now. She literally has hours to live if she isn’t given her medication and moved to a private hospital.”
We published the story on Good Things Guy and garnered help from many caring South Africans. Over R200 000 was raised in a matter of hours, and it seemed the pressure of the media caused the medical aid to turn around on their decision. But after weeks of the family fighting with them – and even though little Renesmé was finally moved to Sunninghill – it was just too late, and she died at just 23 days old.
I phoned Sam that day and cried. I felt like a failure. We all did. I have not stopped thinking about little Renesmé since then. Good grief, what if the medical aid acted quicker and did the right thing sooner? This tragic story could have ended so differently. If only.
And then on Monday night, 111 days after that innocent little baby passed away, my phone rang with a similar story.
Jaques van Rensburg – a Johannesburg Ward Chairman I met during Renesmé’s case – called me. He explained that there was another baby with similar circumstances, another hiccup with insurance, this time with Momentum… another mistake, another chance to save a baby, another chance to watch one die.
I put the phone down and sobbed; I didn’t believe that I had the strength to do this all again. How could I put my heart into this knowing that I could fail, knowing what the outcome could be?
But I knew I had to do something.
I phoned Cheryl Reddy – a good friend who I remembered had worked with Momentum. She immediately sent me a contact who she believed could help.
I called the number.
A person from Momentum answered.
I explained the situation.
And they didn’t falter for a second.
They got hold of the family and the hospital right away and made sure that the baby was being kept on the machines and being looked after. They then arranged for the little one to be moved to a private hospital. They picked up all costs and sorted out all the insurance details without missing a single beat.
They acted quickly.
They did the right thing without any hesitation.
They saved a baby’s life.
A big corporate machine showed heart, kindness, love and humanness.
Most days I go to bed defeated. Most days I fail. Another hungry person that I’m not able to feed. Another baby that has died. Another homeless person that I am not able to help. The need is never-ending and all-consuming, yet the fight is constant and relentless.
I have to get up and do it all again every single day.
Thank you Momentum for reminding me that there are good people behind organisations who genuinely do care. Thank you for showing your heart.
Thank you for giving me the strength to do it all again today.