Daniel needs a “hand’s up”

For many it would be far too much to deal with. But for 18-year-old Daniel Dos Santos from Dinwiddie, Germiston, becoming paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident in 2014, which also claimed the life of his older sister, brought with it an acceptance that “this is my new ‘normal’.”

The team at Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services in New Market Park became aware of Daniel’s story after caring for his mom, Veronika, who is a registered out-patient of Stepping Stone.

Says Stepping Stone Hospice’s Clinical Services Manager, Sr Sheryl Newman: ‘Taking care of our patients holistically means being aware of all the areas where we can be of assistance. Hospice is not a place but a ‘philosophy of care’ where patients are cared for from a physical, psycho-social, spiritual and social perspective. This is done to help ensure a ‘whole’ approach to their wellbeing, and it’s a model of care that extends to patients’ families as well, to see to it that they too are supported. This is how I’ve come to know Daniel. I feel his story should to be told and his wish to study further be made known to the community, as there may be someone out there who can assist him.”

The injuries Daniel sustained in the accident mainly affected the thoracic vertebrae that are located in the mid-back and he was diagnosed with a T4 spinal injury. But that hasn’t stopped him from living his life to the full. Having rowed and played hockey as a Jeppe Boy prior to the accident, Daniel remains as active as possible by going to the gym regularly, hanging out with friends and even driving on his own. “I’m not a negative person. I’m a funny guy that pushes himself and always looks for the positive side of things. My story doesn’t define me,” he says.

Since matriculating from the Hope School for the Disabled at the end of last year, all Daniel would like to do is work towards a qualification and start a career in the IT industry. But with his mom unwell and his dad taking care of her full time, the family isn’t in a position to enable Daniel to further his studies right now.

“Daniel needs and deserves a hand’s up,” says Sr Sheryl. “I’d love for someone to offer him a bursary or even an internship so he can begin his adult life.”

Caption: Daniel Dos Santos with Stepping Stone Hospice’s Clinical Services Manager, Sr Sheryl Newman.

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