18-year-old takes first step after horrific accident claims both legs


“Edwin is in the best hands with his beautiful new feet.”

So says Tanya Marx, mother of 18-year-old Edwin Nelson, who lost both his legs in a horrific accident in May this year.

However, he received his temporary prosthesis on Tuesday and, according to his mother, cannot wait to walk – even run – again.

RNews earlier reported that Edwin, a keen sportsman who matriculated at Potchefstroom Gymnasium last year, had his life changed in the blink of an eye one Sunday when he suffered serious injuries in a car accident.

He has since been treated in Mediclinic Potchefstroom and was discharged on Monday after more than a month.

“It’s going very well, Edwin is back at home and it’s really nice to have him here again. He came home for the first time last Friday and had to go to the hospital again on Sunday to have his last stitches removed. We finally checked him out of the hospital on Monday,” says Marx.

“Edwin is so independent. He can and wants to do everything himself, you can just tell he just wants to walk again.”

Edwin received his temporary prosthesis on Tuesday and wants to learn to walk again immediately.

“He is still in a wheelchair, but he has to practice regularly with the prosthesis. The wounds inside are still not completely healed and his legs are sometimes still sensitive and hurt, but he says it’s not that bad, I think I’m more on my nerves than he is,” jokes Marx.

“I actually can’t believe how positive Edwin stays throughout everything. He is busy and for sure is his wind hole self again.

“He just wants to know from the doctors when he can run.”

Grateful for good doctors

Marx says she is especially grateful to the doctors who treated Edwin.

His amputations were done by dr. Kobus Marais, orthopedic surgeon, was done and he was then followed by dr. Kobus Slabber, general practitioner and anesthetist – who currently also specializes in sports medicine – treated.

However, the beginning of Edwin’s medical journey was not so easy, says Marx.

“We didn’t know what to do next, we didn’t know the doctors because we don’t live in Potchefstroom, but Edwin always ended up in the right hands.

“They really helped us so much. It was actually sad when we checked him out of the hospital on Monday because he had been there for a long time and had made many friends in the hospital. They will definitely miss him.”

Marx says Edwin has now acted on several recommendations in dr. Johan Snyders, orthotist and prosthetist from Pretoria, ended up in the capable hands.

“We heard so many stories and got so much advice, you don’t know afterwards what the right advice is to follow, but everyone Edwin has treated so far has been absolutely excellent.”

Marx says Edwin’s family and friends also had a great influence on his recovery.

“We all remain positive. We know we have to be strong for each other. Edwin stays strong for the family’s sake and we stay strong for him.

“My sister and niece live on a farm near Potchefstroom and they drove through every day to visit Edwin. His friends also study there, he was never alone.”

The community and members of the public were also supportive throughout and made a great contribution.

“Businesses in Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark stepped in and assisted, so many people prayed for Edwin, people we don’t even know. I’m really grateful, every penny, every little prayer really made a big difference.”

According to Jennifer Schoeman (24), Edwin’s cousin, one could see the pleased expression on Edwin’s face when he stood up for the first time with his new prosthesis.

“He has this wowexpression on his face. I actually felt emotional because I was so happy for him.

“I don’t think any of us thought the process would go so quickly. I’m really incredibly proud of him.”

Marx says that Edwin is now a little shorter than he was before.

“He has to learn to walk again before they can put the length back – it’s easier with the shorter prosthesis.

“Everything still feels unreal, but I feel proud and I’m really grateful that Edwin is keeping up.”