An “unthinkable tragedy” sparked the Just Breathe Initiative
It takes a special kind of resilience to turn tragedy into hope, and to give back after a terrible loss. Yet this is what the Weber family is accomplishing through their Just Breathe initiative.
Connor leaves his mark on life with the Just Breathe Initiative (Supplied)
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On 4 December 2017, in the midst of the worst drought Cape Town has seen in decades, the Weber family suffered an unthinkable tragedy.

Their young son, Connor, fell into a water-saving bin and drowned. “Connor was a strong boy and although he had been in the water for a prolonged period, they managed to resuscitate him before he was taken to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital,” dad Daniel told us.

"Horrible rollercoaster"

The next five days were a horrible rollercoaster of emotions, he said, and then Connor sadly passed away on 9 December 2017.

He would have turned two on 17 February 2018.

Following Connor’s passing, Daniel says he could not stop thinking of some of the things the family experienced during that week in the hospital, most especially the amazing medical treatment Connor received and the compassion and care the family received from the hospital staff.


Also read: 10-year-old swimmer hopes to raise R2 million for Red Cross hospital in the upcoming Freedom Swim
 He says he felt compelled to give back and to try help in any way he could.

“The staff often work 30-hour shifts, and yet they were always helpful and eager to listen. They cried with us, prayed with us and treated Connor as if he was the only child in the ward.”

"Special people" 

This was not only applicable to him, they treated every child in that way Daniel told us.

“It takes special people to work under such stressful conditions, and to still do it with the passion and dedication they do is beyond belief,” he says.

As a result of his desire to give back, Daniel set up the Just Breathe Initiative, a charity which aims to raise money for the benefit of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and to assist the staff and others through the development and implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving their knowledge, skills and general well-being.

In their first year the initiative had already accomplished the following:

•  The provision of winter jackets for the ICU staff

•  Development of material and training of ICU staff on basic financial management

•  The organisation and hosting of a year-end function for the ICU staff

•  Performance of a play at Montana Primary School on everyday heroes titled “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”

They also raised R200 000 for the Children’s Hospital Trust through fundraising for a team of dedicated people to run the Wild Coast Challenge, a grueling 120km over 3 days along the Transkei coast.


Also read: Turning lemons into lemonade and literally making waves: 10 inspiring kids to make your day

Leave Your Mark on Life

Just Breathe is intimately involved in the Children’s Hospital Trust’s latest big project, the Leave Your Mark on Life project. Through this the Trust aims to raise R150 million over the next few years for various important projects.

“We’ve also pledged our support to raising funds towards the upgrading of the emergency centre, which has a special place in our hearts as this was our first interaction with the hospital,” Daniel says.

Visit Just Breathe on Facebook.

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