Funds raised for quadriplegic centre


Launa Cronje has been involved with the Andries Olivier Quadriplegic Centre in Durbanville for several years and after recently taking ownership of a restaurant, she got the idea to host a fundraiser for the centre. Ms Cronje, with Rawson Auctions, managed to raise about R12 000 at a golf day, which was held at the Greenways Golf Estate in Strand on Freedom Day, April 27. The centre is managed by 10 residents, who are responsible for all aspects of running it and ensuring that it stays financially viable.

It is a registered NPO and receives a partial government subsidy, which covers approximately 20 percent of their expenses.

“I have been involved with the centre for the past seven years, including helping out with their annual golf day in Durbanville. I have also arranged several small fundraising events over the years,” said Ms Cronje of Gordon’s Bay.

When Ms Cronje took over the Anchor Bay Restaurant in Strand, she got the idea to host this fundraiser.

“A client from Rawson Auctions wanted to run an advertising campaign for the area and I decided to join the two functions and raise some funds for the centre.”

She added: “I simply adore these guys who manage so well with everything they do. I have the utmost respect and admiration for this bunch of people, who despite their disability make such a huge success of their lives.”

Brenton Swartz, 37, has been living at the centre since it opened in 2001. He says the centre is always in need of funds. “We need about R85 000 a month to cover the costs of running the centre which includes staff wages, maintenance, transport and food. All the permanent residents pay a small amount towards the rent and the rest of the money they have to raise.”

Mr Swartz says they try to host two big functions annually. This golf day was their first fundraiser of the year and they hope to host another one in November.

“We organised the day on very short notice and didn’t have as much time as we would have liked, but for a first golf day, I think it all worked out well.

“We only had eight teams that participated, but they all opened their hearts and wallets for this worthy cause. I am very proud to be part of this,” said Ms Cronje.

She says they received generous donations from their participants. These included Custom Designs, HR Construction, Batts Plumbing Rawson Auctions and the Anchor Bay Restaurant. Willem Nolte and his team from Bellville were the winners of the day.

Mr Swartz says they were approached by Ms Cronje to host this event.

The residents currently run two businesses, which include a party hiring service and the renting of their guesthouse. They sell books on the first Saturday of every month at the Rust-en-Vrede Gallery in Durbanville, of which most are donated.

“Some of the residents have jobs and the rest run their own businesses from the centre. A lot of people have the perception that people with disabilities just sit and do nothing all day,” said Mr Swartz.

He added that everyone at the centre had their own responsibilities. Mr Swartz was 15 when he was involved in a shooting incident in his hometown of Atlantis, which left him in a wheelchair. Despite this he managed to complete his matric and later moved to Kuils River.

“We were five guys who rented a three-bedroom house. We had one person staying in the garage and another in a separate room, while we waited on the centre to be completed.”

He says this is not only a centre for quadriplegics but it is their home.

The centre provides care and accommodation for spinal-cord injured quadriplegics, and was the life-long dream of Andries Olivier, a quadriplegic, who passed away before the centre opened.

The centre officially opened in August 2001 thanks to help received from the Quadriplegic Association of the Western Cape and the local municipality.

* Call the centre on 021 975 5459 if you would like to help.