I qualified as a Medical Doctor; Wanda and I have three wonderful children, all grown up and married with children. My degenerative illness has impacted on my life but it never held me back and I never considered myself as having a disability. Then, in March 2010, I was forced to take stock of my situation and to make some tough decisions. The next day I went to work in my wheelchair.
This column is dedicated to those unsung heroes who enable us; those very special people who love us, assist us, care for us and sacrifice themselves for us and, in honour of Ida Hlongwa - a hero amongst heroes - this column will be known as Ida's Corner.
When I look back I realise that Wanda slipped into the role of caregiver without ever stopping to be my wife and life-partner. As I became more limited physically she took on the new challenges - often in such a manner that I nevereven noticed it. All the experts advise that you do NOT depend on your lifepartner for full-time care and this is an area we shall explore in this column,as well as where to look for assistants, where to get training for them anddifferent levels of care.
We need your input, your experience and information to help others. Let us support one another, learn from one another and grow together. And, when we lack answers, I undertake to pester experts until answers are found.
We also need to hear from those heroes who help us to live our lives - after all this column is about YOU!!
QASA's Ari Seirlis was injured in 1985. Ida Hlongwa worked for him for 20 years until she retired in 2010. She passed away in December of that year and is sadly missed by all who knew her.