On April 22 this year, Imogene Krigga from the Kurland Village in the Crags underwent a life-changing operation to help her see again. Sabrina Love was part of the group of people that helped make it happen.
Imogene was diagnosed with amblyopia – a vision disorder that disrupts the synchronisation of the eyes resulting in one eye carrying the burden of all the vision. Eventually the brain no longer recognises the affected eye leaving the sufferer with vision in only one eye. If caught early, before the age of nine, amblyopia is treatable by an optometrist. With was not the case with Imogene and her brain had already begun to shut down vision leaving her with severe visual impairment.
If this is the case there is an ophthalmic operation that can be performed to correct the sufferer’s vision but in Imogene’s case she had been told by the state specialist that it would not make any difference. Imogene’s ‘Born in Africa’ godparents did not want to leave it there and enlisted the help of Dr Roger Brink, an optometrist from Mossel Bay. He gave an alternative diagnosis and suggested the operation would be possible and put them in touch with ophthalmic surgeon Dr Peter Harpur who became the hero of story. Not only did he negotiate special rates with the Knysna Private Hospital but also with the Anaesthetist, Dr Sarah Bayman. Born in Africa immediately put a fundraising campaign into action and with the generous donations and help from the Vanhaerent Family (Imogene’s Born in Africa godparents), Nicole du Preez, the Sabrina Love Foundation, Rolf Sieper and his daughter Ines Steinberg, Imogene underwent her operation at the age of 16. She woke up the next morning in a state of total elation able to see so much better – her life changed forever. Her post-operation check-ups have shown a remarkable improvement in her vision enabling her to not only improve at school, but play sports, read and maybe even one day drive. What a wonderful story and Sabrina Love is so pleased to have been a part of it. (Pictures – Born in Africa)