Three-year-old Elijah Cottle from Hout Bay is suffering from a rare condition, and his family need help to cover his mounting hospital bills.
Elijah’s mother, Courtney Matthei, says their “loving and energetic boy” impacted so many lives, but had his own life changed in but a few days.
Last month, a day after his third birthday, Elijah was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, a rare polio-like condition that led to a sudden paralysis from his waist down, resulting in him being unable to use his legs at all.
“Our three-year-old blessing, which has brought us so much joy, was in a fight for his life, a fight with the condition that we had never heard of,“ said a tearful Ms Matthei.
Elijah has been in and out of hospital ever since, undergoing numerous procedures, including a tracheostomy, bronchoscopy, plasma transfusions, gastrointestinal tube feeding, an MRI, a CT scan, and a lumbar puncture.
“Throughout his ordeal, Elijah has kept his cheerful spirit and loving attitude. He loves to play with his cars, read stories and has fun building with Lego,” she said.
“He is definitely missing the life that he once had though: playing soccer, riding his bike and attending school at The Bay Academy, where he had endless days of fun playing with his friends. Despite Elijah’s positive demeanour, life’s trial is just beginning for us.”
She put her job on hold to be at Elijah’s side and oversee his 24-hour care.
The family’s BackaBuddy campaign has raised R150 000, but Elijah’s hospital bills are already approaching R1 million.
“Elijah has shown his resilience, strength and bravery throughout this experience. Our gift from God, who loved to run, jump and once believed he could do anything, has been stripped of this and will now learn to adjust to his new quality of life from a wheelchair. We are all learning about the boundless courage it takes to fuel his path to recovery,” his mother said.
The family say they have been humbled by the outpouring of love and support from family, friends and even strangers around the world.
“We understand that if you are not in a position to donate at this time, we kindly ask that you keep Elijah in your prayers and share our story with as many as possible,” Ms Matthei said.