New hope for young amputee

Round Tablers take on Ironman to raise funds for Ubuko’s medical costs

PREMIUM

They might not change the world, but a group of men will put their bodies on the line this weekend to help raise funds that will go towards double amputee Ubuko Mpotulo’s medical costs.
The seven Round Tablers from East London – Jethro Penny, Toby Nzuza, Daryan Rowe, Warren Bigara, Ruan Jordaan, Bazil Frewen and Ryan Baisley – will take on the unforgiving 70.3 Ironman triathlon challenge on Sunday.
The seven came together and decided to do their bit and contribute towards the Mdantsane-born boy’s ongoing medical costs, through a campaign launched on donations- based crowd-funding platform BackaBuddy.
Baisly said the BackaBuddy campaign went live on January 15 and had already raised R13,166.78. The target is R50,000.
“We may not be able to change the entire world, but by trying to change Ubuko’s world, we might make a difference in his life that inspires him to pay it forward to the next person that deserves it,” he said.
Ubuko’s mother Litha said the entire family were overwhelmed with excitement.
“We are very appreciative and excited for what they are doing for us,” she said.
Ubuko will only meet most of his heroes for the first time at the Ironman expo this weekend, where he will also get an opportunity to view the latest triathlon gear and equipment and experience the exhibition before the event takes place.
Ubuko was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia – a sudden infection of the bloodstream and inflammation of blood vessels – when he was three years old.
As a result, he had to have both his legs and some of his fingers amputated as the lining of his blood vessels became damaged, obstructed his narrow arteries and eventually cut off his blood supply completely.
He now relies on prosthetic legs to get around, but this has not stopped his zeal for life.
Last year the Tablers committed to extensive training ahead of the challenge as a bid to raise funds for Ubuko.
Last year, Ubuko was awarded a scholarship by Selborne Primary and College after teachers and the school’s governing body saw his resilience and perseverance shine through his disability.
He is in grade 5 this year. His prosthetics specialist Marissa Nel said his medical costs amounted to about R148,000 each year.
“Until Ubuko turns 18, his prosthetic sockets will need to be refitted and changed at least 14 to 16 times until he stops growing.
“Unfortunately this will still be a long-term struggle for him.”
Nel said as Ubuko was still growing, his sockets would likely need to be changed in the next six to eight months, when he will require alignment adjustments and replacement of some of his prosthetic parts.
For the past six months, the team has met weekly to do triathlon-specific training to prepare for one of the toughest endurance events.
The Ironman challenge consists of a 3.86km swim, 180.25km cycle and 42.20km marathon, without breaks...

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