Crowdfunders raise R35m to help the ill

A Cape Town three-year-old who cannot eat food without becoming seriously ill, a Johannesburg paediatrician who had battled cancer and a foundation that supports child burn victims won the hearts of donors on SA’s biggest crowdfunding platform last year.
According to BackaBuddy’s annual statistics the crowdfunding site raised R35m in 2018.
The “Save Aaron” campaign raised the highest amount, R1.5m, for Aaron Lipschitz, who has never shared a meal with his parents, had a slice of his own birthday cake or savoured the taste of a sweet.
Aaron cannot eat without becoming seriously ill and every day at 7pm he is hooked up via a port through his heart to receive 12-hour intravenous feeding. Aaron is the first South African to be diagnosed with Interleukin-12 Receptor Defect, a rare, incurable disease that affects his immune system.
His parents need the money for a bone marrow transplant.
The Avela Foundation raised more than R1m to provide healthcare and emotional support to children who have suffered burn injuries.
“Some of these children have disfiguring scars and we know that with the right support they will be able to achieve the impossible and become mentors to other burn survivors,” the foundation said on its campaign page.
Johannesburg paediatrician and mother of two Kerryn Neilson raised close to a R1m to help pay for a new chemotherapy drug before she succumbed to blood cancer in March.
She was only able to have one round of the drug before she contracted an infection.
The number of causes that registered on the crowdfunding platform increased from 862 in 2017 to 1,836 last year.
“Where Facebook was seven years ago, donations crowdfunding in South Africa is today; it’s just breaking through into the general consciousness. South Africans are recognised as incredibly generous and when given a simple way of coming together to support others, this shines through,” said BackaBuddy chief executive Patrick Schofield.
Many people relate and empathise with those in critical need at a particular point in their lives.
A new house for Olivia was the campaign that stood out for BackaBuddy chief operations officer Catherine du Plooy.
Olivia Mokete was beaten in the street by an unknown man during protests in Johannesburg, despite having nothing to do with the protests.
Her home was a tin shack. South Africans raised more than R11,000 for a wooden wendy house for her.
“The kindness Olivia experienced after her ordeal showcases our ability as South Africans to positively impact those around us,” Du Plooy said. BackaBuddy PRO Zane Groenewald’s favourite cause last year was the #rise18 project, in which Zanele Hlatshwayo completed 18 marathons in honour of her father who had committed suicide...

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