Train hero sets sights on ath­let­ics

Cape Times - - WORLD NEWS - Siphumelele Khumalo

A CAPE TOWN man who lost his mo­bil­ity af­ter be­ing tossed out of a train while sav­ing strangers is de­ter­mined to be part of the na­tional para­plegic ath­let­ics team.

“I’ll be do­ing train­ing to be­come a part of the para­plegic as­so­ci­a­tion at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity, where I’ll be train­ing to do track and field events and hope­fully be in­vited to rep­re­sent South Africa at var­i­ous events,” says Darryn Au­gust.

Au­gust, who used to be a teacher and is now a mo­ti­va­tional speaker, was try­ing to save two women from robbers on a train in April last year. How­ever, the robbers beat him up and threw him out of the mov­ing train. He be­came paral­ysed from the waist down.

“I made a prom­ise to my­self ages be­fore that day that if ever I saw any­one in a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion, I’d do what­ever I could to help, come what may,” he said.

When Au­gust’s friend, Graeme Kuys, heard about it, he of­fered to help, know­ing Au­gust to be full of en­ergy.

Crowd-fund­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion Back­aBuddy set up a cam­paign in May that year to raise R50 000 to­wards Au­gust’s med­i­cal fees. Kuys pledged to cy­cle laps of the Steen­bras Dam Viewpoint, a to­tal dis­tance of 8 848m, and the equiv­a­lent of Mount Ever­est’s el­e­va­tion.

Within a few days, the ini­tial R50 000 tar­get was sur­passed, and more than R500 000 was raised.

Au­gust be­gan treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at Tyger­berg Hos­pi­tal and phys­io­ther­apy at Groote Schuur Hos­pi­tal, which he com­pleted in record time.

DARRYN AU­GUST

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