Our daughter Sabrina passed away in 2003, just before her 7th birthday.
She was born on the 5th June 1996 with a rare bone disorder called Atelosteogenesis type 3, the first of her unique kind in South Africa. This rare condition affects the bones resulting in dislocations and underdevelopment of limbs and other bones in the body.
This meant she would never walk or move on her own. She was unable to support her torso so could not sit unaided, her breathing was compromised due to her fused rib cage, and she had many other complications with her skeleton. Initially, in her early years, surgeons tried to rectify her club feet, her misplaced knees and her dislocated hips through many surgeries.
We reached a time that we decided that we could not have her go through any more surgeries and found peace that her special body was made the way it was meant to be, and we were to rather work alongside specialist experts who would help us find equipment and therapies to help her be as independent, healthy and happy as possible.
Sabrina had the brightest, kindest and gentlest mind and being, with a magnificent spirit so strong which shone brightly as she touched everyone who met her. She was brave and beautiful, and a pure inspiration.
She taught us gratitude and an appreciation for the smallest things in life that many others may not ever notice, but to us meant the world. We learnt about pure and unconditional LOVE with every day that we spent together being the biggest gift to cherish.
My husband, Tony and I, made it our life mission to explore, investigate and learn about absolutely everything we could, to make her life as easy as possible, and to have her share and be part of all and everything we did. Sabrina was never excluded, we made sure of that.
She learnt to drive her own special electric wheelchair that we had made for her, she rode her pony with me behind her holding her tightly, she sang on her dad’s shoulders as he supported her and took her on hikes on our beautiful Robberg Mountain and the beach where we live.
She lay in the middle of our dining room table and helped bake our challah lying on her side and covered in flour every Friday. She went to pre-school with a facilitator to help her in the classroom where she could participate and be surrounded by all her special friends and incredible teachers who were all learning about her unique life and welcoming her into theirs.
She painted holding a paintbrush in her mouth and learnt how to maneuver herself to achieve tasks in the classroom that astounded us all. Her bouts in hospital with pneumonia and on a ventilator for weeks at a time when she got her infections were terrifying. She fought each time and each time we left the hospital we were graced with more time to share.
Sabrina slipped into a coma on the 1st of May 2003 and passed away on the 12th. Our hearts were shattered and we hung onto each other and Sabrina’s little sister, Gabriella, who was then almost 2 years old. We could not imagine life without her and at the same time could not imagine the suffering and pain that other parents with disabled children face who are not able to afford to care for their children the way we were able to care for our Sabrina.
It was then that we decided to create her Sabrina Love Foundation, a Foundation to take care of all the disabled children and their families in our Plettenberg Bay and Bitou region in the Western Cape, South Africa. It was our dream that all children with disabilities experience the love and inclusion that our beautiful Sabrina had in her short life with us.
All my love, Suzy
Very few of our current team ever had the privilege of meeting you, Sabrina, but your mom and dad talk about you so much and you are still ever-present and included in every dream, idea and project we embark on at your foundation.
We feel you in all the hearts and rainbows your mom shows us and we have all learnt to love your favourite colour, pink! You continue to inspire us all and drive us forward on our quest to do more and do better for children like you.
We are all so fortunate to be part of your journey.
All our love, the Sabrina Team
Children impacted by Sabrina Love
Family members supported
KM travelled by our two busses
Nutritious meals provided
* Stats & figures for 2022