My name is Kirsten O'Brien. I'm a South African who's been living in the States for many years. When an opportunity to help a fellow South African arises, I will always do what I can, and I hope you'll join me in this effort. Many thanks to the incredible team of people at the Boston Medical Center for all that they have done already...
Our community is pulling together to send a wonderful man to his final resting place in his home country of South Africa. A 41 year old father from Morgan's Bay, Eastern Cape was hospitalized in Boston in September after a few months of not feeling well—there he was diagnosed with significant health problems. He remained in the hospital to receive treatment in hopes of returning to his family once completed. During this time from September to January, the hospital staff felt privileged to learn more about his story and benefit from his kind, hopeful nature, and his fighting spirit. His story touched many hearts on the inpatient floor.
He provided for his wife, children, and aging mother in South Africa for many years while working in the US. He had not returned home to meet his youngest child who was born after he left home. His plans to return home in November shifted to a fight for his life. His enduring work ethic transferred to his fight for that honor of meeting his son, of praising his 9 year old daughter for her school work and strength, and continuing to build a home with his wife.
When treatment was found to be more harm than good, he shifted his efforts to return home as soon as possible so as to pass with his family—he worked diligently with physical therapy, he pushed his providers to assist him in gaining strength to return home. All hospital staff pushed for this hope. However given his deteriorating condition and acute needs, financial resources were not available to provide appropriate transport. In the end, he understood this. He understood his coming death. He again continued to fight to have his wife be by his bedside when he passed; but the timing did not work in those efforts to bring his wife to Boston.
Almost each day from November to his death, he was able to video conference with his wife, sister, and uncle; they shared laughter and plans for their future. His wife sent pictures of his family of which were posted on the bare hospital walls. His wife and sister spoke to him when he was unresponsive. The inpatient team cared for him as family would for 124 days. He was surrounded by this family when he passed.
Now, his impact continues. Our community is hoping to fulfill his last wishes of sending his remains home to his family so they may grieve and lay him to rest in his beautiful country. All funds raised go towards flight and funeral costs.
Thank you, thank you for helping us send this special man home.
- Tsega Mezgebu
- Adam Calder
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