Stories

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Being a hero has no age limit

How often have you walked past a street child and felt a pang of guilt in the pit of your stomach? Some of you may have even given a few coins or wondered what you could do to help.

Park Care resident Anna Els does a little more than that. At 88 years young, she is one of those people who thought “what can I do to help” and then actually did something about it. While she doesn’t have x-ray vision and isn’t able to bend steel Anna is a hero in that she has turned something she loves into a gesture from her heart.
Anna is an extreme knitter.

She has been a Park Care resident for the past two and a half years but for the past four years Anna has been knitting every day from the moment she wakes up to the when she goes to bed, stopping only for meals. During these four years she has made over 700 pullovers that she has given to those less fortunate. No two items are the same; with Anna creating a unique piece for each individual lucky enough to receive one of her pullovers. “I have enjoyed every stitch,” says Anne with pride. She explained that she often thinks of those who are less fortunate, especially at night when she is tucked into her warm bed. Anna’s pullovers are distributed by her granddaughter.

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The human spirit knows no limits:

Mrs Matele Mpuru is one of Park Care’s star athletes. This may be surprising to those who have walked past her in the corridor, as Matele is confined to a wheelchair and only has minimal movement in her hands and shoulders. But these apparent limitations have not held her back; in fact she has learnt new skills and has even uncovered a few hidden talents.

Prior to her stroke, Matele worked as a teacher for over 25 years. She reports that she loved working with children of all ages as she believes that education is a very powerful tool. Life as she knew it changed in 2009, when Matele suffered a stroke in her home. After she was discharged from hospital, she found that life was very different. She had difficulty communicating with people and because she was wheelchair bound, she was unable to undertake the day to day activities that made up her life.

Basic tasks like dressing or cooking were difficult, meaning that Matele was now dependent on the help of family members or a carer. Matele came to Park Care in 2011 and is one of our most colourful residents. It was here at Park Care that she learnt to play Boccia, a sport similar to french bowels but played by athletes with physical disabilities. Not only does Matele play this sport, last year she took part in the Nedbank Competition of Champs in Pretoria and received a silver medal.

Matele’s dream is to one day have her own electric wheelchair so that she will be able to move around completely independently. ‘I can’t wait for the morning when I wake up and my chair (wheelchair) is waiting for me,’ she said. When asked what places she would like to visit, her answer did not surprise me. “Everywhere!” she said with a big smile on her face.

We are fundraising to make Matele’s dream a reality.

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