Friday, 20 May 2016 17:46

Wayde van Niekerk Gives Half a Million Rand for Premature Babies Featured

Written by Ryan Swano
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South African champion sprinter Wayde van Niekerk has given South Africans a new reason to be immensely proud of him and this time it is not through his achievements on the track.
On Thursday 19 May the athlete donated half a million rand to the Newborns Groote Schuur Trust to benefit premature babies.

Van Niekerk who is the only athlete in the world to ever break the Dream Race times in all three sprint events of the 100m, 200m and 400m was himself born a premature baby.

The star athlete was born in Tygerberg Hospital at 29 weeks and weighing only 1.1kg and he was later transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital’s neonatal unit, where he spent several weeks in an incubator.
Wayde had decided to become involved and make a difference two years ago on a visit to the premature baby unit at Groote Schuur.

Van Niekerk explained his reasoning  “My mom told me that every day when she woke up, she didn’t know whether I was going to be alive or not, so it was easy for me to say, ‘Let’s help out other premature babies’.”

During the handover of the cheque at the Century City Convention Centre Van Niekerk said through the donation he hoped to make his mother proud.
“My mother is very passionate about premature babies since she cared for one herself. Through this donation I’m showing my support to her causes, and to make her proud. I’m my mother’s seed and I want to help her in every manner I can. But more importantly, I’m hoping to help thousands of premature babies who go through Groote Schuur Hospital’s neonatal unit.

“As a small premature baby, I was given a fighting chance to survive, and so it’s very important to me to help give other preemies the best chance at life.”

The handover event was also where Wayde was named the face of an ICT company, T-systems, in a new sponsorship deal.

The premature baby unit at Groote Schuur which was built in the 1970's cares for some of the smallest babies born in the Western Cape and overcrowding means that it is very difficult to care for the average of over 3000 mostly premature babies that are admitted to the unit every year.
The Newborns Groote Schuur Trust which Wayde van Niekerk has donated to is raising funds to expand the unit.

Watch this video telling the true life story of a baby’s journey through the Neonatal ICU unit. His name is Tauriq and he was born 11 weeks early.

Visit the Newborns Trust Facebook Page to learn more about the Premature Unit and the Newborns Groote Schuur Trust initiatives.

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