Crowdfunding helps SA mum undergo life-saving surgery in UK

20 June 2018 - 12:43 By Nivashni Nair
Cherry-Lee Bekker.
Cherry-Lee Bekker.
Image: Byron Bekker via Facebook

A South African man raised more than R400,000 in two days to cover an emergency operation to remove his wife's brain tumour‚ which was discovered on a trip to the United Kingdom.

New mom Cherry-Lee Bekker will go under the knife at a London hospital on Wednesday.

Two days ago her husband Byron took to social media and a crowdfunding platform to appeal for funds to cover the payment that had to be settled before the surgery.

"On June 7 we received the news no one should ever have to get: "You have a brain tumour" - especially three months after giving birth to their first child. Cherry-Lee‚ my fit healthy wife‚ just 31 years old‚ shortly after landing in London had multiple seizures whilst on a trip to introduce our baby Noah to the family in the UK‚" Bekker wrote on Facebook.

Cherry-Lee stopped breathing after the seizures and was resuscitated and rushed to hospital. "After multiple scans and MRIs we were told that she had a 5cm glioma in the front left lobe of her brain. After consulting with South African and British doctors‚ we determined the risk to fly her back home for treatment was far too high‚" Bekker said.

Bekker then discovered that their medical aid scheme would only cover a portion of the medical bills in the United Kingdom as it felt that she was fit to fly back home and it was cheaper to perform the procedure in South Africa.

Fearing that she would haemorrhage or go into cardiac arrest on a long haul flight‚ Bekker knew he had to raise the funds to cover the shortfall.

Bekker told TimesLive from London on Wednesday that his wife and him had been in tears when they discovered that they had raised enough funds to pay for the surgery. "We are absolutely overwhelmed with the support and love we received. We are so humbled‚" he said.

Although nervous‚ the Bekkers are positive that Cherry-Lee will pull through this "scary and traumatic ordeal". "We just can't express how people have pulled together to help us. We will forever be grateful and indebted."


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