Crash survivor Chelsé-Leigh, 15, needs your help

Chelsé-Leigh Tiemie and her carer, Bongiswa Hewe.

The family of a 15-year-old Heideveld girl, who astonished all by surviving a hit-and-run that left her with severe brain damage, are appealing for help to give her the care she needs.

Chelsé-Leigh Tiemie was knocked over on Saturday October 17, while walking along Duinefontein Road. She spent six weeks at Melomed Gatesville, fighting for her life, and was then transferred to a rehabilitation centre in Newlands, where she spent another three months. She came home on Monday March 29, but she needs constant care.

Her father, Alrich Willis, said although she was still bedridden and her recovery had not been consistent, she had made some progress.

“The past eight-and-a-half months have been a rocky road. She has severe brain injury and her full recovery cannot be guaranteed, and it might take up to three years to see substantial improvement, but we remain hopeful,” Mr Willis said.

Chelsé-Leigh has a carer during the day, and also receives physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. She recently started drinking liquids but is still being fed with a tube inserted in her stomach.

Chelsé-Leigh Tiemie with her little sister, Riley, 4, before the hit-and-run that left her with severe brain damage.

Like any parent, Mr Willis, the family’s breadwinner, only wants the best for his child, but the financial implications have become too much to bear. His wife, Gadjia, and Chelsé-Leigh’s mother, Gretchen Tiemie, help the carer during the day, and alternate caring for her during the night.

According to Mr Willis, the medical aid covers three-quarters of the monthly costs for his daughter’s care, but he still has to find R6 000 extra a month for adult diapers, specialised food, transport for the occupational therapist and more.

“Chelsé-Leigh has to be turned every two hours – even during the night. Her nappies need to be changed. It can become stressful, and having to worry about the financial needs exacerbates things. We will be so grateful if we can get assistance with her day-to-day needs,” Mr Willis said.

If you can assist, contact Mr Willis at 074 683 2650, or Gadija at 084 492 6725.