Daniel and Friends Fund

Daniel and Friends Fund
The Daniel and Friends Fund...creating the platform for a stronger, more intimate special needs community

What is the Daniel and Friends Fund?

On the 23rd August 2013 little Daniel le Roux lost his lengthy and courageous battle with Leigh Syndrome, exactly one week after another little warrior, Mariele Laurie, succumbed to complications of the syndrome she suffered from, Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome. Professor Pieter Fourie, whose care of and love for Daniel and Mariele had gone over and beyond anything which might be considered fair professional expectation, was determined not to allow the heartache and devastation caused by such tragedy to go without lending itself to a higher purpose...and so shortly after Mariele and Daniel had earned their angel wings, Professor Fourie shared with Kate and Lianie, their mothers, his vision for an organisation which would provide much-needed support for other parents who might be on a similar journey. Just a few short months later, the Daniel and Friends Fund was born guided by, by this time, three special needs mothers, each symbolic of the three friends who had helped Daniel in the Biblical passage from which Professor Fourie had drawn his inspiration.

Since their launch in February 2014, the Daniel and Friends Fund (a registered non-profit organisation) and the dedicated and driven people behind it, have provided not only the emotional and psychological support often sought by parents of children with special needs, but have also committed to ensuring that these parents have had access to the necessary knowledge and training in order to equip them to care for their children in the best possible way that they can. While largely focusing on top priority issues like providing extremely affordable CPR courses, free therapy sessions, psychology-based programs for the parents, occasional donations of items/equipment necessary for caring for a child with special needs...the importance of also creating a fundamental base from which friendships and 'normalcy' can stem has not gone overlooked. To this end, the Daniel and Friends Fund mommies are often treated on special days like Mother's Day and Women's Day and, where possible, these invitations are extended to the entire family for celebrations such as Mandela Day, Christmas Day, etc.

The purpose of our blog is not only to provide the opportunity for sponsors, supporters and followers to stay in touch with the various projects and events we're busy with but also, and just as importantly, to provide an insight for others into what life entails for families on a special needs journey, as well as enlightening fellow parents to the fact that this journey need not be travelled alone...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Oh, the GEMS one finds at a housemarket!

Preparations and planning for our only-ever second Housemarket went about with more excitement and anticipation than our first market I daresay. Having some insight into the great quality products being sold and the surprisingly festive ambience present previously, we looked forward to a morning of more of the same.

And then the weather happened...cold, windy and scattered with just enough drizzle at regular intervals to keep you guessing when would be a good time to run for cover. Despite the dreary weather though, there was a steady flow of folks through the garden...enjoying the most delicious homemade pies, tummy-warming pancakes and lovely boerie rolls. The Sand Art stall was a huge hit and provided the perfect entertainment for kids, giving moms and dads some time to linger.

And then, of course, bringing a sparkle and a warmth to the morning all her own, was this little Gem...Jordyn McKenzie...reigning Miss Teen Hope 2015. After spending a great deal of time in hospital, battling two separate medical conditions, Jordyn developed a passion for colouring the lives of children less fortunate than herself, with hope and encouragement to dream!

After a lengthy hospital stay a few years ago during which Jordyn received treatment for both ITP (a chronic low blood platelet condition) and Type 1 Diabetes, "the sadness in the childrens' eyes" inspired her to start the Heart of Dreams Project. Reaching out to children in orphanages, informal settlements, farm schools and hospitals (such as Red Cross Children's Hospital), Jordyn teaches the children wire art and beading. Each piece forms the shape of a heart and each bead is placed on the heart representing a dream, accompanied by a prayer. "We put our hearts between our praying hands and thank the Lord for all our blessings and what he has done for us this far, as well as all the dreams that will come true".

Jordyn regularly delivers heart-shaped beads to children with special needs as they cannot do the bragging themselves and then goes home happy, revelling in her rewards..."WARM SMILES".

As you read this, Jordyn is brainstorming countless ideas and exciting new elements to bring to our Christmas Market at the beginning of December. This young lady's compassion, dedication and inspiring faith will leave you so completely in awe...spend mere minutes in this 14yr old's company and only then will you appreciate my sentiment and Daniel and Friends Fund's excitement about an opportunity to work hand-in-hand with her xxx

Sunday, September 20, 2015


One of the Daniel and Friends Fund's all-time favourite spoils for our families is to be able to treat our parents to an awesome Artjamming session. A wonderful opportunity to come together and let those imaginations offer a much-needed distraction from the usual worries one deals with when parenting a child with special needs.
Paint - check!
Canvas & apron - check!

Funky Artjamming atmosphere - double check!

A little improv headgear to channel those creative juices - triple check!

And GO!
Within minutes it was heads down and getting serious
about those unique DFF creations waiting to happen.
Janet and James Strumpher engrossed

Mauritz, Farzaana and Meg drying their canvasses

Claire Strumpher focusing on creating
just the right shade for her work

Little Ra'naa and dad, Bashir, enjoying a precious
moment as they work together to create not only
a beautiful picture, but a lasting memory too

Farzaana determined to get her Olaf "just right"

Little Lea refusing to have her artistic abilities boxed
by limiting her creativeness to just a canvas

Clair satisfied that her efforts have
created the perfect mix
While little Sienna puts great effort into
ensuring that her brush has just the right
amount of "twirl" to it
Our Kate confident that her piece is progressing
exactly as she envisioned it

Little Hanno's creation, bold and courageous...the
epitome of the passion with which he conquers his challenges

Sonja's smile...a true reflection of how
much she is enjoying herself

Little Nina...practising holding the brush for when she's
old enough to properly join in the fun next time

Mom, Sam, and daughter, Anastacia, picking up some
tips from the Artjamming team

Lianie and Nicky - Almost there...backgrounds dried and
ready for the next step
Two hours completely flew by and had some pretty
awesome art work to show for it. Lianie and Gawie's
impressive canvasses

Our DFF Family...already looking forward to the next
Artjamming session!
Lianie, Kate and Nicky

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Significance of the Insignificant

Had you participated in the Blisters for Bread Charity Walk in August, you may or may not have noticed a group of "Wonder Women" making the most of every photo op available (and those not-so-available)...enjoying every moment to the fullest, matching each step with a reason to smile or laugh. Exchanging crowns and superheroes for petals and belts of ivy, those same ladies (plus a few more) joined in at the Medihelp Tekkie Challenge in aid of raising funds for the Jan Kriel School for Learners with Special Educational Needs.
That's great, you might think to yourself...I mean who doesn't love contributing to a good cause AND while doing something fun? But, is it really more worthy of a mention than any of the other couple of thousand entrants? Ordinarily, no! But then again, parenting a child with special needs is anything but ordinary. Planning a funky outfit, arranging meet-up points, a couple of kilometres during which to catch-up, strengthen friendships, socialise with the community and just be one of the crowd for a short time, momentarily pushes aside the usual thoughts which occupy our minds 24/7...is my child okay...am I okay...are their meds okay...are their doctors/therapists/carers/teachers okay...did I remember to make this doc appointment, give that med, arrange that surgery/therapy/assessment...is this temp just a temp, is this cold just a cold...too little stimulation...too much stimulation...what will the future hold for him/her...what happens when I am gone...who will advocate for him/her...understand...care...love the way I do?
So, a few precious moments to allow ourselves the luxury of becoming consumed with something seemingly-insignificant to some but yet a significant distraction for those facing special needs challenges on a daily basis, most certainly calls for the occasional crown, flower and impromptu photo shoot...
Medihelp Tekkie Challenge - 5 September 2015
Heidi, Wilna, Lizel, Farzana
Kate, Lianie, Nicky

Blisters for Bread - 23 August 2015