Witness Reporter
2 minute read
14 Jul 2022
07:15

90-year-old awarded medal for walking 900 km to raise funds

Witness Reporter

The number nine has turned out to be a significant one for Wedderburn, who on June 9 celebrated his 90th birthday, having fulfilled his 900-km pledge with over R90 000 raised in donations to the non-profit fund that he established.

Netcare Kingsway Hospital general manager Annatjie Demetriou and Bill Wedderburn.

Bill Wedderburn, who at the age of 89 walked 900 km to raise funds for the families of healthcare workers who succumbed to Covid-19, has been awarded a medal of appreciation by the hospital where he himself was treated and recovered from the virus.

Wedderburn, who celebrated his 90th birthday last month, was admitted to Netcare Kingsway Hospital, in Amanzimtoti, with Covid-19 and pneumonia in January 2021 during the second wave of the pandemic.

Despite suffering from chronic kidney disease and undergoing treatment for prostate cancer at the time, he made a full recovery.

“I have no doubt that my survival was thanks to the efforts of the doctors and nurses who looked after me at the hospital. I was deeply saddened to hear that one of the hospital’s nurses, who was only 36 years old at the time, had lost her life to Covid-19. This got me thinking about all the families of healthcare workers who would be so badly affected by the loss of their loved ones and in many cases perhaps their sole breadwinner.

I spoke to my family about what we could do to make a difference and I decided to commit to walking 900 km before my 90th birthday — 100 km to mark each decade of my life — as a fundraising initiative …

During the course of the year Wedderburn also had to undergo a cataract procedure in Gauteng, which was combined with some dental care he required in order to minimise time spent in surgery and hospital. He continued walking during his recovery at his daughter’s home in Johannesburg.

The number nine has turned out to be a significant one for Wedderburn, who on June 9 celebrated his 90th birthday, having fulfilled his 900-km pledge with over R90 000 raised in donations to the non-profit fund that he established.

According to Annatjie Demetriou, general manager at Netcare Kingsway Hospital, the hospital team was overcome by Wedderburn’s commitment to making a difference to the families of healthcare workers who had succumbed to Covid-19.

“Bill Wedderburn is a truly remarkable human being and we felt that he deserved nothing short of a medal for what he has achieved …” she said.