Red Cross pa­tients thrilled to meet princes

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BEN MACLEN­NAN

LIVER trans­plant re­cip­i­ent Nathan April and his mates had been ex­pect­ing to meet David Beck­ham, but the fu­ture king of Eng­land and his boet made pretty good sub­sti­tutes.

Nathan, 17, was one of sev­eral young pa­tients who chat­ted to princes Wil­liam and Harry dur­ing the roy­als’ visit to the Red Cross War Me­mo­rial Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day.

The princes, in Cape Town for last night’s Eng­land-Al­ge­ria foot­ball match, launched a R10 mil­lion fundrais­ing drive for a spe­cialised surgery train­ing fa­cil­ity at the hos­pi­tal.

Nathan, from Eer­ste River, said he had been told that for­mer Eng­land cap­tain Beck­ham would be com­ing as well. But he was quite happy with the princes.

“They came all the way from Amer­ica, ah, Eng­land, just to get to us. Makes us feel very im­por­tant,” he said.

Nathan, who had the trans­plant in 1995, was in hos­pi­tal for treat­ment for re­jec­tion prob­lems.

Waseema Parker, 17, of Cravenby, in hos­pi­tal for a rou­tine check-up fol­low­ing her sec­ond kid­ney trans­plant in 2006, ex­changed a few words with Harry.

She said: “I told him he has nice eyes. He said ‘thank you, it’s an hon­our to meet you’.

“I just can’t be­lieve I met him... I’ll tell ev­ery­one.”

If she had to choose be­tween Wil­liam and Harry, she would go for Harry, she said.

“I think I’ll take him. I also sup­port Eng­land. Coin­ci­den­tally.”

In­ten­sive care unit sis­ter Galiema Abrahams, 23, agreed with Waseema, who also pre­ferred Harry.

“And they’re very sexy. I’m a huge royal sup­porter. I’ve been wait­ing for this a very long time.”

The princes un­veiled a plaque to mark the launch of the fundrais­ing drive.

Head of pae­di­atric surgery at the hos­pi­tal, Pro­fes­sor Alastair Mil­lar, said the fund­ing was needed to de­velop a min­i­mally in­va­sive sur­gi­cal skills train­ing lab­o­ra­tory.

The fa­cil­ity would com­ple­ment the state-of-the-art key­hole surgery the hos­pi­tal was al­ready per­form­ing in eight the­atres com­mis­sioned last year.

“We hope that this will be­come a hub of teach­ing and learn­ing through­out the con­ti­nent of Africa, be­cause there is no such fa­cil­ity in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa,” he said.

Build­ing was sched­uled to start in Septem­ber and a Ger­man man­u­fac­turer had al­ready agreed to do­nate all the equip­ment needed, Mil­lar said. – Sapa

PIC­TURE: SAM CLARK

SWOP­PING GRINS: Prince Harry and Prince Wil­liam talk to chil­dren at Red Cross War Me­mo­rial Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day.

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