Celebrating Cameron

HAZEL ALLIES-HUSSELMAN

Children in and around Donegal Court in Hanover Park gathered in the square between the two blocks of flats to celebrate a special birthday on Saturday April 16.

Community workers in the area felt it would only be fitting to celebrate Cameron Vaughan’s 21st birthday with their neighbours, and put plans in place to make it happen.

Cameron was only 18 months old when he fell from his family’s second floor flat, which left him with permanent brain damage.

His mother, Contessa Vaughan, said his health challenges had started six months after the fall.

“I was in labour with my second-born child, and the accident happened while I was at hospital. He was a healthy baby. At the age of two, he started getting seizures, and he has been mentally disabled since then.

“He regularly attends the neurology and endocrine clinics at Groote Schuur Hospital. I must help him bath and dress, and he has the mind of a five-year-old boy.

“My parents, Selena and Henry Vaaltyn, played a big role in helping me to raise him. I was planning on having a small gathering at home to celebrate his birthday, but I was approached by some community workers who wanted to do something much bigger for him.

“I really appreciate this kind gesture from the community, and I am humbled by their generosity,” Ms Vaughan said.

On Saturday April 16, 150 children gathered in the square to celebrate with Cameron and his family. They were treated to hot-dog rolls, akhni, cakes and even party packets.

Community workers Faldiela Arendse and Rochelle Smith said because Cameron was so well-loved by the residents of Donegal Court, it was only fitting to celebrate his birthday with the people there. Ms Arendse approached Ricardo Sedres to help her spread the word for donations towards the party, by using social media.

“I put in an appeal on Facebook and people responded positively. I would like to thank them all for making this possible,” Mr Sedres said.

Ms Smith said they initially wanted to hold Cameron’s party in a hall, but then it was decided to make it as inclusive as possible.

“It was my son’s idea to give Cammy, as we call him, a party. We all love him. He is such a loveable child. He always makes us smile. I offered up my house so that we can work from here,” Ms Smith said.

Ms Arendse chipped in: “Sometimes he can be lekker mischievous, and sometimes he’s moody, but we always look out for him, because sometimes, people who don’t understand his condition, want to hit him.”

The two women thanked all those who contributed towards the party, saying many people from outside the community responded generously to their call. Cameron even had two birthday cakes.

Eugene Jacobs and Natasha Jacobs were among the good-doers. They donated 150 party packs.