Giving Kids With Challenges A Lift In Life
The Kirsty Watts Foundation was initiated by Kirsty Watts, aged 14 at the time, during her treatment and recovery from a malignant brain tumor. Kirsty believes in ‘kids helping kids’ and felt that since she was fortunate to receive incredible support and medical care, she would like to assist children less fortunate than herself.
The guidance and support of the trustees of the foundation have enabled Kirsty to form a trust for this purpose. The trust is funded by fund raising initiatives (such as golf days; poker evenings and motivational speaking) as well as corporate or personal donations. The proceeds are distributed directly to the children identified as requiring assistance for a variety of needs.
It happened very suddenly in October 2007. After just feeling dizzy for a couple of days my parents took me to a doctor at Sandton Clinic. The doctor sent me to have a CT (Computerised Tomography) scan, saying that it was just a precaution. As I walked out of the x-ray room I could feel the nurses treating me differently. I just knew that something wasn’t right. I was left alone in a ward while doctor spoke to my Mom and Dad.
Nothing can prepare you for the shock of being told that you have a brain tumour.
Soon the doctor was holding up the scans and telling me how I needed a seven hour operation. It felt like a dream. Well, more of a nightmare.
The reality set in when I was wheeled into the operating theatre. I was surrounded by huge machines and many doctors and nurses wearing masks.
The hours of waiting must’ve felt like months to my parents. It felt like just seconds to me. The five days in ICU is also a blur. All I can remember is waking up every half an hour or so, to throw up.
Just as I was enjoying the fact that I had been moved to the general ward and that I was able to eat again I was hit with more devastating news. My journey was far from over. The surgeon explained that I would need six months of Chemotherapy and thirty-three days of radiation.
Despite the wonderful care I received from the nurses I would not wish these treatments on my worse enemy. Losing your hair is one of the toughest things for a teenage girl to cope with, especially when your hair was long, straight and beautiful.
Somehow though these experiences made me realise that I was one of the lucky ones. I was being treated by the most amazing doctors at the best hospitals and treatment centres in the country. I have had an immense amount of support from my school, Brescia House, my friends, and especially my family.
Many kids in our country don’t get the opportunity to receive the kind of treatment and support that I’ve had. Others live in poverty and squalor and don’t even have sufficient nutrition to feed their sick bodies.
I have realised that the support of others can change your perspective on life and inspire you to have hope. My whole life I have always wanted to help those who are less fortunate. That is my reason for starting the Kirsty Watts Foundation.
My aim is to better the lives of many children.
– Written by Kirsty Watts when starting up the foundation at age 14
Funds Raised (ZAR)
Projects To Date
“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.”
– Nelson Mandela