While many parents might take some of their child’s minor developmental milestones for granted, a local couple, Shaun and Louise Snyman, prayed for as little as a step or a word from their four-year-old son, Brodie.
Little Brodie had a most unfortunate start to life as he suffered severe brain damage during birth. During the first two years of his life, he spent more time in a hospital bed than in his own.
During this time, he was diagnosed with several life-threatening chronic conditions, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, dystonia, asthma, bronchiectasis, CVI (chronic venous insufficiency), scoliosis, microcephaly and moving the hips. It is also dependent on oxygen and tube feeding. Due to the weakness of his lungs, he can fall into respiratory failure at any time.
“When Brodie was born, we had to decide who was going to stay home and take care of him, and who would continue his job. My husband then quit his job and started a small business in our garage. Unfortunately, I I was made redundant soon after, which put us in an exceptionally stressful financial situation,” Louise explained.
“When Covid started we fell behind on our medical aid payments and were unable to meet Brodie’s medical needs or any of our other expenses. It just doesn’t get any easier – we just can’t afford his medicine.
Since they also have eight-year-old twins, they regularly rely on their school’s feeding program to provide them with food parcels. The family also struggles on a daily basis without any means of transport.
“We live with this constant worry about how we are going to get him to the hospital if something were to happen. We use Uber at the moment, but it’s very expensive and you can never be sure how quickly they can arrive,” she said.
Their little fighter also requires medical equipment which is not supported by medical aid. This includes a specialized nebulizer, a standing frame, and an oxygen machine. He also needs constant neuro and physiotherapy.
“We are strong, but everything is getting too much. Stress, fear and worry are so much a part of us that we no longer know how to get out of it. We love our children so much and it hurts us to get them through this struggle. The little money we receive goes directly to food and other necessities. We just can’t get this all under control,” Shaun said.
They currently have huge medical and real estate debt that they simply cannot afford. Even though they dream of providing Brodie with the medical care he needs, they cannot see this dream come true without the help and assistance of the community.
That’s why the family recently created a BackaBuddy page. If you would like to support them or learn more, feel free to visit their BackaBuddy page at https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/brodie-snyman or the Facebook page, Brodie Snyman’s Journey.