I grew up in a normal, happy, loving household in Fourways, Johannesburg. My parents were happily married (I think about 30 years now-crazy!!) They always did their best to provide for me and my brother. At the same time, we were taught how to appreciate what we had and be thankful for it. We were not incredibly wealthy but we never felt it. My parents were pretty awesome in that way. It always felt like we had what we needed. After 13 years of my mom begging my dad for another child and some serious budgeting (my dad loves excel spreadsheets), she finally fell pregnant. She loves telling us about the Valentine’s day conception even though we expressed how much we didn’t need to know.
Surprise it was twins! We knew one was definitely going to be a girl but the other was going to be another surprise. They were born on the 22nd Oct 1997 at Olivedale Clinic. They were both healthy, rather large babies. The biggest twins Olivedale Hospital had seen at that point.
When Jade started to reach milestones and Kerry didn’t, my parents grew concerned and started visiting Doctors. Kerry was eventually diagnosed with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) at about 17 months. And so the words I never wanted to hear come out of my mom’s mouth. She explained that Kerry had a genetic disease that had no cure. She was given a life expectancy of 4 years. I still remember the day very clearly. We were in the bathroom getting my sisters ready for a bath when she told me. The words hit me like a ton of bricks and settled in my stomach like a hard rock. I held back the tears and put on a very brave face for my mom, who had broken down at this point. I ended up breaking down at school and then again every time I had to tell someone about her diagnosis for years after that.
The years to come had its challenges and tears. Kerry struggled with her immune system and was constantly in and out of hospital. Each time we all wondered if this time was it. Yet each time she pulled through and proved the Dr’s wrong. She is an incredibly determined individual. We went through our ups and downs with finding a high school that would accept Kerry and her wheelchair, a huge back operation and some other difficulties yet always seemed to come through it as a closer family.
Kerry had given me a gift, one that I treasure. She taught me to always live life to the fullest! She still inspires every day of my life. She has now decided to share that gift with others by sharing her story in talks that she does for groups, corporates and basically anyone that will listen. She hopes to help other disabled individuals in fundraising and awareness.
Kerry said something to me a couple of months ago that really hit home. She said if you can talk about something that caused you pain without crying then you have healed.
Thank you Kerry!
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