Journey of Hope

Can you imagine that feeling as a parent when a doctor says that there is nothing more they can do for your child? That it is just a matter of time before you need to say goodbye?

As we continue our hospice visits in KZN, we travel to Verulam, where we were very privileged to meet Clement Maluleka who was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills and is usually caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby’s birth.This brain damage also can lead to other health issues, including vision, hearing, and speech problems; and learning disabilities.There is no cure for CP, but treatment, therapy, special equipment, and, in some cases, surgery can help kids who are living with the condition.

In 2012 Clement’s parents were told that there is nothing more they could do for him and it would only be a matter of time. His mother, Sibongile Maluleka shares her experience with us and how Dr. Julia Ambler came to their rescue.

“It was extremely difficult to see Clement in so much pain. There were times that I would just cry.” she said. Sibongile spent the past 4 months in and out of hospital trying to get the best treatment for him especially controlling the pain he was experiencing. He couldn’t feed himself and found it very difficult to breath and swallow. It reached the stage that his condition was deteriorating and doctors could no longer do anything. They then called Dr. Julia Ambler, a paediatric nurse to assist.

When Dr Julia first met Clement his condition was extremely bad. He was underweight, had multiple infections and was consistently on oxygen. Through the necessary palliative care intervention, Clement’s condition improved tremendously and doctors who gave up hope on him then couldn’t understand how his condition has improved. Sibongile praises Dr. Julia for her care and support and most importantly the love expressed to Clement.

Spending time with Clement that afternoon was a reminder to me that children are blessings and despite their conditions, they tend to still make you smile.