On Saturday the 8th of June, the community of Hoedspruit came together at the Rhino Convention Centre on behalf of Keira Rutherford, a young lady affected by the dreaded Lyme Disease. The evening marked the culmination of a campaign that raised a phenomenal amount towards Keira’s treatment at the Klinik St. Georg in Bad Aibling, Germany, and the Rhino Convention Centre provided a physical point of connection for the many contributors that have collaborated online over the past few months.
Keira’s journey has been an arduous, painful and frustrating one due to the dearth of knowledge and treatment options – and denial – in the South African medical landscape. Yet, due to the efforts of a small, but “phenomenal community” (as Debbie Thomson calls it) , Keira has been able to receive the best treatment in the world, by raising a huge sum of money in a very short period of time. Debbie continued that the response was also attributable to Rankin Rutherford’s committed and generous past contributions to the welfare of this community, which has been an investment in kindness that is now repaid with interest. This serves as proof that we are able to weather life’s challenges if we stand together.
The effort to assist the Rutherfords will also yield further dividends to other sufferers as the campaign continues to raise awareness about the disease to shake the denial out of the system.
Melanie Lester, family friend and physiotherapist, narrated the experience of the treatment, and the intense emotional ups and downs as Keira had to undergo treatment after rigorous treatment. The protocol at the Klinik St. Georg includes every possible defensive measure that can be applied to halt the destructive march of Borellia burgdorferi into tissue and organs. The persistence of the treatment itself speaks volumes of the courage displayed by both Keira and Lana (her mom). At times Keira has been ready to give up, only to recover hope and to express the faith that she will again lead a normal life. The miracles in the process are evidence that this faith is rewarded.
The evening was punctuated by WhatsApp messages that Keira sent from Germany to thank the community for their contributions and prayers, projected on a big screen for all to see. Thereafter, the air was filled with the merriment of togetherness as raffle tickets were drawn (with more prayers answered), the kids danced for prizes and the adults danced for fun.
This event again confirmed what the Rhino Convention Centre is about, and the values that we espouse. We are proud to be a part of this effort and to play our part in a truly phenomenal community. We wish Keira a speedy and complete recovery!