Saralein Pickard took her daughter to hospital six years ago after she complained of chest pain only to learn that the child’s kidneys weren’t working properly and she would need dialysis.
So a machine cleaned little Madelein Pickard’s blood for a year, and then her mom gave one of her own kidneys to her only child.
Madelein did fine until Christmas last year when a hospital visit revealed the kidney her mom gave her was only working at 10 percent. The doctors decided to put Madelein back on dialysis until another kidney could be found.
Last week, the 12-year-old girl had a small surgical procedure to insert a catheter into her stomach, and she will be connected to a machine for dialysis for at least 10 hours at night.
Mom and daughter will need plenty of extra space to accommodate the dialysis machine and medical supplies, but it’s space their cramped RDP house in Fisantekraal simply doesn’t have.
Ms Pickard, a single parent who chars a few times a week, has appealed for help so that she can give her daughter a bedroom of her own.
“Her immune system is very weak and she picks up on infections very easily. Having her own space would be more hygienic and better for her health,” she said.
Western Cape Health deputy director of communications Mark van der Heever says this form of dialysis can be performed at home but ideally Madeleine should have her own bedroom, as well as a clean and dry storage space for the dialysis fluid.
“Any overcrowding or contamination of the fluid at the place where the dialysis is performed, could result in an infection, which could mean that she would have to be admitted to hospital for long-term treatment,” he said.
Madelein is on the kidney-transplant list, but there’s no saying when she will get a kidney. Her mom fears it could take years.
Jerome Smit, leader of Fisantekraal Performing Arts Community Group met the Pickards a few weeks ago, after his wife spoke to him about their situation, and he is determined to muster community support for them.
“The Pickard’s house is very small, and, with a condition like that, Madelein definitely needs a room and bathroom of her own. I’m looking forward to helping and know that God will bless all those who help others. Madelein is a very sweet girl and hard working,” he said.
The Grade 5 Alpha Primary School pupil has already been kept back twice because of her condition. Her mom says its hard because there are days when Madelein is fine and other days when she can barely get up.
Through it all, she said, the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital had been very supportive. “They have been there for us from day one,” she said.
If you can assist the family with building supplies, contact Ms Pickard at 060 747 2867.