‘The opportunity to enable Sarah’s long-term independence, quality of life and medical intervention whilst living with Rheumatoid Arthritis and its associated illnesses.’
Firstly, I would like to thank you for visiting this page. Please take the time to watch the video clip and read Sarah’s story. I ask that if you can donate, please do, even just a little. Many people donating a little could make such a huge impact on the success of this campaign. And please share this campaign within your community and ask them to share too.
Please like and follow ‘Sarah’s Landmark challenge’ on Facebook for updates on Sarah, the campaign and the challenge.
Some of you will be aware of the previous campaign for Sarah’s medical needs ‘Sarah’s Struggle’ which culminated in such generosity that we achieved the goal in raising funds for emergency surgery on her spine. The remaining funds gifted have given her subsequent opportunity to undergo some of the aftercare required, cover costs of ongoing medical needs, and visit specialists to gain an understanding of long-term prognosis and requirements.
The funds also helped with an emergency visit to the hospital due to a fracture in her pelvis, in July which no one could have foreseen. This resulted in greater understanding of her medical needs.
For those who are not familiar with Sarah and her medical diagnoses. Sarah is my sister, she lives in South Africa and she has been living with chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis for 11 years. She has further chronic associated illnesses, including acute Osteoporosis, Sjogren’s disease and Fibromyalgia.
Despite her medical conditions, Sarah’s life in South Africa is in one where she follows her vocation of caring for cultural environmental work, as a traditional medicine person, counselling, healing, and mentoring people in the process of self realisation. She has embraced and has been trained to work within traditional Zulu practices, having been taught by her Zulu elders and mentors. She has expanded this work to create a bridge for cross cultural communication and awareness of the issues which connect us all.
Sarah and her life partner Muvo are an integral part of their rural community. They are a valued source of help and advice locally, as well helping people overseas. Sarah is a voluntary consultant for environmental bodies which value her traditional cultural knowledge and experience.
Sarah feels very passionately about protecting and preserving indigenous sacred sites and their environment and works actively with communities to educate them, as well as addressing those who do not value the land or rights of indigenous communities.
To say that Sarah has had some challenging times over the last year or so, is an understatement, starting with a fall she had in May 2020. This culminated in emergency surgery to fix a broken hip/femur, which ended up with complications, and she had to have further surgeries to clear up infection. In October 2020 she was told she had a compression fracture at the bottom of her spine which needed urgent surgery and further evidence of previous multiple fractures. ‘Sarah’s struggle’ crowdfunding campaign allowed that surgery to happen at the very beginning of 2021.
So, what has been happening since Sarah’s surgery at the beginning of the year and why am I campaigning again for further funding for her?
In recent months Sarah has had further appointments with her Orthopaedic surgeon, Periodontist, GP, and her new and exceptionally learned Rheumatologist. And most recently, Sarah had another three days stay in hospital due to a fracture in her pelvis.
The outcome of the medical advice Sarah has been given is that:
The Rheumatoid Arthritis medication that worked for Sarah had to stop due to this being a major factor in her now acute Osteoporosis. Her new Rheumatologist has been explicit about what medications Sarah should now be on and believes will kick Sarah’s RA into remission.
The metal pin inserted to fix Sarah’s femur break, has been positioned incorrectly which cannot be rectified at the original government hospital where the operation took place. It is poking at Sarah’s leg and nerves, causing further acute pain, she needs further surgery to rectify the issue.
Due to Sjogren’s disease the damage to Sarah’s teeth and jawbone is now at a critical stage and urgent treatment is required to prevent infection and replace missing teeth.
It is now apparent, due to the damage the Rheumatoid Arthritis has caused, and most acutely the severe Osteoporosis Sarah has, that she will not be ‘abled bodied’ in the way she herself and we would have hoped. This means to protect her body from any further breaks, for her to able to continue her work physically which involves long walking distance or on any rough terrain, even a local park and to have some quality of life, she needs a mobility vehicle.
The financial implications for the above are significant.
I am paying for the new RA medication and will continue to do for as long as I can. I felt this was urgent to try and ease some of the suffering Sarah endures. It is early days in terms of how well it will work, but we are hopeful.
And gratefully, the remaining funds from the ‘Sarah’s Struggle campaign’ paid for Sarah’s most recent hospital care for her fractured pelvis. But, this now leaves a zero balance for anything else with number of vital medical needs that require funding.
Therefore, I am looking to the community of compassionate, kind and generous people once more with the aim to raise funds for the following:
Firstly, 60000 ZAR (approx. £2939 or $4022) for the surgery needed to rectify the issue with the pin in Sarah’s leg. These are estimated costs based on a two night stay in hospital post-surgery. Sarah’s Orthopaedic surgeon would like to get this done as soon as possible.
Secondly, 15000 ZAR (approx £734 or $1005) to enable Sarah to engage with her Periodontist to finish the treatment she has started as soon as possible to halt any further risk of infection and damage to her jawbone.
Thirdly, 130500 ZAR (approx £6393 or $8748) for an All-terrain Mobility vehicle. Sarah is very vulnerable when she moves about. She is barely able to take more than a few steps on level ground. She has been told she shouldn’t do any more than take a few steps around the home. Sarah not only needs a mobility vehicle to allow her to escape the entrapment of being housebound for much of her time, but she also needs the vehicle to be robust enough to take her to the rural communities and areas she needs to go to, to continue her work. We have researched what would be most suitable and Sarah has consulted with her orthopaedic surgeon, you can see the vehicle we hope to get in the video clip.
And finally, 60000 (approx £2939 or $4022) to cover 12 months of medical insurance. We have recently found an insurer that will cover, in the most part, the costs of Sarah’s medical needs. Ultimately medical insurance is the only way to sustain the volume of outgoings required for Sarah’s medicines and care. Due to Sarah’s pre-existing conditions and age, Sarah must pay in for a whole year, before the insurers will pay out. She will be covered for emergencies immediately after 3 months of payment, but not for pre-existing conditions. The medical aid company have also clearly informed her that they will not cover her costs for the pin operation as the injury occurred before she signed in to any medical aid.
After the first year, the insurance will cover most of the medicines and specialist care she will require, negating the need to reach out to people for further financial support.
Raising these funds for Sarah will enable to her to reach the ‘Landmark’ turning point in her journey. She will no longer have to make the impossible choices about what treatments she can or can’t have or live in fear of medical bills in the case of emergency treatments or hospital visits. She will be on the medications she needs, have the mobility vehicle to give her safety and quality of life, and have peace of mind that her medical care is covered.
Neither Sarah or I are ignorant of the fact that the total sum of 265500 ZAR (approx £13000 or $17800) is significant, but this figure is ultimately the value of Sarah’s life. It is not easy for me to quantify my sister’s worth as to me she is invaluable. Nor is it easy for Sarah to measure her worth based on funds we are asking for, or for her medical battles to be laid bare for public to see. She is so much more than her illness.
Sarah would like to give back to everyone who donates by sending a digital copy of her artwork (see pictures) so please contact me through the campaign, so we have an address to send the media to.
Sarah & Muvo would also like to give back to Mama earth by planting trees. Muvo will plant 5 trees for each of the 4 goals we reach. This will also empower the community she lives in who are more than willing to help with tree planting as they value their environment.
Sarah also wants to share video posts or chats on her progress, life and the effect of the campaign on her self and others in all that she does.
“I truly believe that no matter how difficult or challenging it is to be observed in complete vulnerability, it also allows others to feel their own vulnerable spaces and common good and ability to grow.” Sarah Wager.
And, because I love my sister unconditionally and feel compelled to do something in the hope of raising the profile of the campaign, I will also be taking my own Landmark journey by walking (or running if fitness allows) to Glastonbury Tor (40km), on the 9th November 2021.
Thank you for taking the time to read the campaign information and watch the video. We are grateful to each one of you for compassion, kindness and support.
Much love Cath & Sarah