Roshe Hamerslag is a feisty five-year-old who doesn’t let her clubbed feet and hand hold her back.
The little girl from Kalkfontein has been waiting for surgery to correct the arthrogryposis, as it is clinically known, since she was born. She will undergo the surgery to her hip, wrists and feet to try and correct the deformity.
Over the years, she has had several operations but in July doctors hope to make her wrists and ankles as “normal as is possible”.
Tygerberg Hospital spokeswoman Laticia Pienaar said arthrogryposis was “characterised by multiple rigid joint contractures”, meaning many of Roshe’s joints can’t move properly.
“This condition leads to a severe limitation of motion for the patient and develops even before the baby is born and is irreversible.
“She has left and right clubfeet and we aim to correct the deformities to get the position of her feet as close to normal as is possible,” Ms Pienaar said.
In the meantime, Roshe has not let the condition limit her. Scurrying around on her thighs, using her clubbed right hand for support, Roshe does the things most five-year-olds are capable of, even going to the toilet alone.
“Omdat sy nie haar bene kan gebruik nie, loop sy met haar een hand,” her mom Belinda said. “Sy beweeg lekker. Sy doen alles wat die ander kinders doen.”
And despite being a “madam” in the home, her family do not treat her any differently.
“Sy’s dan ‘* ou vrou,” Ms Hamerslag said.
But that does not mean the family have been without any challenges. Despite her independent spirit, Roshe still needs full-time care, which means Ms Hamerslag can’t work until her daughter starts at a special-needs school next year.
Things became even more difficult at the beginning of this year, when Roshe’s father Lorenzo De Bruyn, the family’s breadwinner, started getting unexplained seizures and was unable to return to his job as a builder.
So, Joscelyn Beukes, of Mothers in Action, an informal philanthropy group, is fund-raising for the family.
“She’s like a madam,” Ms Beukes said of Roshe, “so we are going to have a high tea, and we are going to dress her up like the madam she is.”
Details of the fundraiser will be confirmed later.