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Pippie's journey of recovery is reason for us to celebrate

The Times Editorial | 2012-07-04 23:57:15.0

The Times Editorial: Initially , it appeared as if the life of Pippie Kruger was going to be extinguished before she even had a real sense of the magnificence of life.

Hers was a story of tragedy, pain and despair - her little body had been burned almost entirely, her chances of survival minimal.

But then along came the advancement of modern medicine, science and technology, and an intervention that many would describe as nothing short of a miracle.

This is probably why Pippie's story captured the hearts of many South Africans.

As each step of her recovery after her operation unfolded, thousands rooted for her. They supported her because they found hope and triumph in the story of her revolutionary operation, of new skin grown in a US lab from her own cells, of a frantic chase to get the skin back to South Africa for the first-ever of this kind of operation on this continent.

They rooted for Pippie's mother, Anice, who would not give up, searching the internet at night for a way to save her daughter, until she came across the procedure.

On the Facebook support group page in her name, Kruger writes about leaving behind the medical staff who had looked after her daughter, and how her heart is already breaking for those who cared for Pippie.

Yesterday, the toddler took her first journey outside the hospital where she had been watched over and cared for to begin a new part of her journey to recovery.

The story is remarkable because it draws us away from our usual pessimism and daily concerns. To witness a parent's unconditional love, the commitment of medical staff for their tiny patient and the evolution of scientific discoveries is a reminder of what really matters.

It reminds us of the triumph of the human spirit and the complexity of our lives. In Pippie's young life there is tragedy, but also the arrival of hope and the gratifying presence of human triumph. It is truly something spectacular to celebrate.

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