WATCH: Caylum celebrates his first birthday party in SA

Caylum Willemse enjoying a moment with his sister Charlotte, on the beach in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal.


The Willemse family arrived in South Africa on December 23, after Caylum’s life-changing operation in Boston in the United States of America on December 1.

Family spokesman Adriaan Gerber says Caylum surprised the doctors with his speedy recovery.

“The 12-hour posterior tracheomalacia operation was a success and Caylum was discharged from the Boston Children’s Hospital only four days after the operation,” he says.

According to Adriaan, Caylum is doing exceptionally well and is getting stronger each day.

“Caylum needs to have a scope done to determine if he has a laryngeal cleft or not, but this will be done at the Netcare Clinton Hospital in Alberton,” says Adriaan.

If Caylum does have a laryngeal cleft, Adriaan claims the family will go back to Boston for the operation.

“It is much cheaper to do it this way than to wait until the scope could be done in Boston,” he explains.

Although Caylum turns one today, a birthday party will take place in Alberton on Saturday.

“We’ll use his birthday party as a fund-raiser for another girl with a similar medical condition,” he adds.

Caylum’s father Wayne says they spent time with their nine-year-old daughter Charlotte and family in KwaZulu-Natal after returning from the USA.

“Caylum loved the water and all the attention he got from Charlotte and the rest of the family,” says Wayne.

When Caylum was born he was diagnosed with a tracheo-oesophageal fistula, an oesophageal atresia and tracheobronchomalacia.

The procedure to correct these conditions and save his life was performed by Dr Russell Jennings in Boston.


Anna Robertson

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