Ricochet News

Sweethearts Foundation hands over specialized wheelchair to 4-year-old Caleb

Feb 10, 2017
Sweethearts Foundation hands over specialized wheelchair to 4-year-old Caleb

On Friday, 3 February, The sweethearts Foundation handed over a specialized wheelchair at Aurora Special Needs Centre to Caleb (4) who was diagnosed with West Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.

According to his mother, Meggan Napoleon, Caleb was wheeled around in a pram as that is all the family could afford. “We had applied for a wheelchair through a government hospital, but when we called to see how far our application was, they (the hospital) stated that they had not even begun to process the application. We had submitted the application months prior, Meggan said.

During December 2016, The sweethearts Foundation ran an online fundraising campaign termed the 12 Days of Christmas Wheelchairs which allowed donors to donate any amount to the Foundation which would be used to purchase wheelchairs.

According to Marketing Director of The sweethearts Foundation, Ashley Nel, the 12 Day campaign was their first ever online fundraising campaign and it was a great success. “The Foundation received enough funding to purchase three wheelchairs for three beneficiaries, 2 specialized wheelchairs which cost in excess of R11000 each and 1 standard wheelchair.”

When Caleb received his wheelchair, his face beamed with happiness and excitement. He leapt from his mother’s lap and began grabbing at the wheelchair in excitement. Once placed in the wheelchair, he smiled from ear to ear and rolled around in his new wheels. There was not a dry eye in the room.

According to Nel, anyone can sign up to be a volunteer or a Collection Point. “All the sweethearts who are currently volunteering are either full time students or have a career and a family and use their spare time to do the little bit they can for the Foundation. Surprisingly, the most avid collectors are young children between the ages of 5 and 13. Several schools around the bay collect on behalf of our Foundation and we sometimes require bakkies or trailers to pick up their collected Tops and Tags as there is so much collected.” Nel said. 

According to Tanya Eales, CEO of Aurora Special Care Centre in Walmer Downs, “I’d never heard of The sweethearts Foundation before and will be collecting bottle tops and bread tags to assist people in receiving wheelchairs.”

It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, you can change someone’s life by collecting something as small as bottle top or a bread tag. The best part about this charity is that it is at no cost to you. We can change the world, one person at a time, if we all work together.

The sweethearts Foundation is 100% non-profit organisation which collects bottle tops and bread tags, sends them for recycling and then uses the proceeds from recycling to purchase wheelchairs for the disadvantaged members of the community. “The sweethearts’ believe that a wheelchair is a basic human right. We urge everyone to get on board by volunteering and collecting Tops and Tags to pay-it forward and help those who cannot help themselves.”

In order to purchase a wheelchair, the Foundation needs to collect 450kg of Tops or 50kg of Tags. Collected Tops and Tags can be delivered to any one of the 140 Collection Points around the country.

More information on the work the Foundation does, or how to become a sweetheart or how to find your closest Collection Point can be found on the official sweethearts Foundation website www.sweetheartsfoundation.org

Image: People in photo from BACK left to BACK right: Erika Pretorius, Glen Joni, Jabu (the loaf of bread), Jackie Webster. People in photo from FRONT left to FRONT right: Ashley Nel, Caleb Geswint, Meggan Napoleon, Yvonne Pearce.