Covid-19: Happiness

'It shows me there is still hope': grief-stricken widow on R120K donation

07 February 2021 - 00:00
Jana Goodman of Plettenberg Bay, left, is able to smile again after the death from Covid of her husband Freddy last month, thanks largely to her friend Elisabeth Wenz, right. Wenz, holding Goodman’s 12-month-old daughter Amelia, started a crowdfunding campaign for Goodman, whose son Tristan, 8, is sitting behind her.
Jana Goodman of Plettenberg Bay, left, is able to smile again after the death from Covid of her husband Freddy last month, thanks largely to her friend Elisabeth Wenz, right. Wenz, holding Goodman’s 12-month-old daughter Amelia, started a crowdfunding campaign for Goodman, whose son Tristan, 8, is sitting behind her.
Image: Esa Alexander

After losing her husband to Covid, all that stands between mother-of-two Jana Goodman and despair is the overwhelming kindness of strangers.

“One side of you is overcome with grief and loss,” Goodman said this week, battling to hold back the tears.

“You just lost your best friend, your soulmate, father of your children, and your whole world is falling apart.

“And on the other side, people are just generous and they come forward to help you. People who don’t even know you. It shows me there is still hope.”

Goodman received more than R120,000 from her local community in Plettenberg Bay and strangers from SA and around the world after her husband Freddy, 40, died on January 8.

Less than five days after Goodman’s friend Elisabeth Wenz started a campaign on crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy, the target of R100,000 was reached and a further R20,000 was raised, bringing the final amount to R121,886.

Donations came from Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Austria, the US and SA.

The couple moved from Johannesburg to Plettenberg Bay in 2007 and opened a wedding and event planning business.

“In 2020 everything changed in a heartbeat,” Goodman said.

“Covid-19 hit China in December 2019 and we were starting to see our first cancellations from China-based clients as early as January 2020.

“The business couldn’t generate an income as soon as the lockdown was imposed. The losses were immense,” she said.

Goodman described the “total devastation” of losing all their income.

“Family had to start lending a helping hand just to put food on the table. Things were really tough. We had to cash out all of our investments and savings just to survive and support our staff.”

When Freddy died, Wenz started the crowdfunding campaign.

“Thankfully, the funds raised will carry us to the next two to three months to cover our basic overheads so we can hang onto the business,” Goodman said.

“I am extremely grateful to all those who have given me hope by donating.”

Wenz said: “We won’t be able to bring Freddy back but our [hope] is to bring Jana back to a life that has a future. She is an amazing person, who has so much to bear due to that loss, but we believe that there are still good things ahead for her future.”

BackaBuddy spokesperson Zane Groenewald said the fundraising campaign to help Goodman was exceptional in terms of how quickly the family’s local community and international donors had responded to their plight.


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