The lives of a family of four from Cape Town involved in a car accident in Johannesburg over the festive season have forever been changed in the worst way possible.
A mother was left injured and an 8-week-old baby dead, with mounting medical bills.
Gerhard van Niekerk (29), his fiancé Madelein van Zyl (27) and their two sons, Gregory (4) and Luke (8 weeks), were involved the accident while on holiday on 28 December 2021.
While driving on the N12, the family was allegedly hit by another motorist on the rear left side of their Jeep Grand Cherokee, which lead to Gerhard losing control of the vehicle and crashing into a mountain.
Fortunately, Gerhard and Gregory suffered minor injuries from the crash.
However, Madelein suffered multiple injuries, as most of the impact was on the left side of the vehicle, where she was sitting.
Her legs, shoulder, nose, cheekbone and ribs were all affected.
The doctor reported that since leaving ICU, Madelein’s elbow has been operated on, and a procedure on her ankle will be performed once the swelling has subsided. She is stable enough to be transported back to Cape Town.
“As the injury to her neck is known as a ‘stable break’, fortunately, no operation is required. Her nose, cheekbone, and ribs will also heal with time”, doctors said.
Further scans and x-rays were conducted, which concluded that Madelein had broken her elbow, ankle and her C2 and C3 neck vertebrae.
Their 8-week-old son Luke was declared brain damage, and he later succumbed to his injuries that evening.
With the mounting medical bills, a family friend of the van Niekerk’s and van Zyl’s, Bianca Weygandt (31) has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Backabuddy, to support the family with their hospital bills.
Since Bianca launched the campaign, over R 27 277.61 has been raised, with contributions from donors both locally and abroad.
With additional funds raised, they will be able to cover the costs of Luke’s funeral, pay towards Madelein’s medical and rehabilitation bills; and also assist the family with emotional and psychological treatment.
“We as a family would like to thank each and every person for their prayers, support, donations, and sharing our story!
“I would like to urge everyone, spend time with your loved ones, and tell them you love them – time is precious – it cannot be replaced and memories are all we have in the end” said Gerhard.
“I had a very special bond with my boy, Luke, in the short time God lent him to us, and we loved him so much! We will miss him – every day.
“Also, drive safely and be alert on the roads – our life was changed in an instant.”