More than two-and-a-half years into his recovery following an accident in which he sustained major electrical burns, Dion Khoza was a true winner at the recent annual Sports Day held at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital in Johannesburg.
“I am very happy to be here today,” a delighted Mr Khoza said, shortly after coming second in the motorised wheelchair race. “It is hot weather, but it is a beautiful day.”
It has been a long journey for Mr Khoza, who spent months in Netcare Milpark Hospital’s burns unit before being transferred to Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital for rehabilitation. Mr Khoza lost both hands, an eye, and one of his legs had to be amputated below the knee as a result of his accident.
On Friday, 6 November, however, there was an air of determination about Mr Khoza as he geared up for the motorised wheelchair race. Spectators cheered as the competitors whizzed down the racetrack, with Mr Khoza keeping his eye on the finish line.
The racers were ebullient as one by one they completed the race; each one of them a winner. Mr Khoza and his fellow participants all congratulated each other, displaying the same high standards of sportsmanship one would expect from professional sports stars.
At the prize giving ceremony, a hush fell over proceedings. “Where is Mr Khoza?” the announcer asked. Someone in the crowd shouted: “There he is,” pointing to an undercover area that overlooks the field.
The crowd began chanting “Kho-za, Kho-za, Kho-za,” and very soon he had made his way down to the prize-giving arena to receive his trophy, a winning smile on his face as he posed for photographs. “It has been a long journey,” he said, beaming.
Following his accident in March 2013, Mr Khoza was left fighting for his life. For many long months he could not leave Netcare Milpark Hospital and feel the sun on his face.
His transfer to Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital marked great progress, but he still had much gruelling physiotherapy work; which is now paying off as he regains more and more mobility and finds a new lease on life.
“Mr Khoza’s story is wonderfully inspirational, not only for our patients who are working towards their own recoveries and see the progress he has made, but for each and every one of us,” says Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital general manager, Marietha van Vuuren.
“Our annual Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital Sports Day celebrates the indomitable human spirit and the profound dignity in the hard work it takes to make progress, in any sphere of life. Every single participant is a winner,” Van Vuuren concluded.
The wheelchair racing has been a highlight of the annual Sports Day since its inception in 2000. There are two categories; the motorized wheelchair race for quadriplegics and people with other forms of paralysis, and regular wheelchair races.
Van Vuuren says that the wheelchair race has become so popular that several races are held, with the winners of each regular wheelchair race competing against one another in the final. “Such is the enthusiasm for this race that we could not keep up with registrations – most people simply join in the event as it happens and this adds a particular zest to proceedings,” she concluded.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, Thomas Hartleb or Devereaux Morkel
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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