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Wednesday Oct 20, 2021

Renishaw Hills applauds resident Bill Wedderburn's 900km by 90 years charity drive to support Covid-19 healthcare workers

Bill Wedderburn (89), who has established a charity drive to raise funds for the families of healthcare workers affected by Covid-19, is the true embodiment of the community spirit shown by Renishaw Hills residents on the KZN South Coast.
 
For the fundraising initiative, Bill aims to walk 900km before his 90th birthday on 9 June next year, clocking 100 kilometres for every decade of his life. For every kilometre missed, Bill will pay R10 into the fund - and he's encouraging other like-minded sponsors to support this cause. He's right on track at the moment, having walked more than 90 kilometres since his start on 28 September. In order to reach is target, Bill estimates he must cover 4km a day walking around the beautiful Renishaw Hills estate, although he's already up to 5km a day so far.


 
"I didn't overcome Covid-19, it was the hard work done by the medical people at Netcare Kingsway Private Hospital," said the grateful octogenarian. "I think they were fantastic. By all accounts I shouldn't be here – considering my age and my comorbidities. Due to their good efforts, I'm still around and able to walk."
 
In January this year, Bill survived a two-week hospitalisation when he contracted the coronavirus. Living with chronic kidney disease and being a prostate cancer survivor, Bill was considered high risk. However, the dedicated medical fraternity did everything they could to ensure his recovery, and he wants to pay them back.
 
In fact, it was during his convalescence in hospital that Bill learned of the death of 36-year-old nurse, Hlengiwe Mbeje, an employee of Netcare Kingsway Hospital who'd died of Covid-19 shortly before he was admitted. Mbeje is one of more than a thousand healthcare workers estimated to have died as a result of contracting Covid-19 while caring for patients – and there are nearly half a million still on the frontline.
 
Recalling his time in hospital, Bill said: "I was lying in bed with nothing else to do but think, and the previous week, this nurse had died from the virus. It was tragic to me that someone so young had died looking after people she doesn't even know. Wearing masks to keep free of the virus is important, but the N95 masks are only 95% effective."
 
The retired metallurgist, who relocated to South Africa from the United Kingdom with his now late wife Doreen in 1957, moved to Scottburgh's Renishaw Hills in December 2019 having been captivated by the estate's incredible views. After being discharged from hospital in February, Bill said he's received endless support from Renishaw residents who've stopped by to check on him. With the assistance of home-based healthcare providers, and his invaluable carer, Happy Madondo, Bill was able to get moving again.
 
He decided to use his experience as a starting point for positive change. Working with a dedicated team that includes a practising surgeon, attorney, IT specialist and former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, Bill has established the Covid Healthcare Workers' Family Fund to raise funds for the relatives of those who've died fighting the virus. Explaining the drive, Bill said: "I want to raise funds for the families of healthcare workers who have died from Covid-19. I also want to put together a collection of hero stories and messages of thanks and appreciation."
 
Phil Barker of Renishaw Property Developments said Bill's extraordinary undertaking was an inspiration to his fellow Renishaw Hills residents: "There is a strong sense of community here at Renishaw Hills, and an incredible generosity of spirit that Bill so perfectly reflects. We'd like to take this moment to congratulate him, not only on his efforts for the deserving healthcare workers, but for also being such an inspiration to those around him. We are committed to supporting the cause and will contribute R10 for every kilometre Bill walks. We also encourage others to contribute by sharing stories of healthcare heroes and donating to our healthcare families who have paid with their lives while saving others."
 
The Covid Healthcare Workers' Family Fund is calling on all South Africans to share their own stories about the hero healthcare workers who got them through Covid-19 – whether in hospitals, GPs or at local clinics. These can be emailed directly to info-AT-CovidHWFF.co-DOT-za. To find out more about Bill's journey, the Covid Healthcare Workers'
 
Family Fund and how you can get involved, visit www.covidhwff.co.za  or https://www.facebook.com/COVIDHWFF .
 
To find out more about Renishaw Hills, a quality and secure mature lifestyle village in Scottburgh on the KZN South Coast, contact info-AT-renishawhills.co-DOT-za or visit www.renishawhills.co.za.

    
 

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