Hundreds of Heideveld residents gathered outside the home of Chelsé-Leigh Tiemie, 14, on Thursday October 22, to pray for her recovery, as she is fighting for her life in hospital.
Chelsé-Leigh was walking home on Saturday October 17, when she was knocked over, allegedly by a speeding driver.
She is in a critical condition with extensive head trauma at Melomed Gatesville hospital.
Her father, Alrich Willis, was among the first to arrive at the scene.
“When I got to her, she was not breathing. I instinctively cleared her airway, and this helped her to breathe again. When she started breathing again, that gave me hope. The doctor told me to prepare for the worst, and that it would be a miracle if my daughter survived her first night in hospital. It has been more than a week, and she is still fighting. To me, where there is breath, there is hope.”
Her family say they are grateful for all the support they have received, not only from their community, but from across the world.
Mr Willis said he could not describe his appreciation for all the prayers going out for her.
“I appreciate the community and all they are doing for Chelsé-Leigh and my family. I shared her photograph on social media, asking for prayers, and people contact me on a daily basis to enquire about her condition. I get messages from Namibia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Thailand, just to mention a few. The gathering here means so much to me. I did not expect so many people. This kind of unity and support is a first for me,” Mr Willis said.
Vanessa Adriaanse, from the Heideveld Community Action Network (CAN), said the accident had brought the community together, as Chelsé-Leigh was one of their organisation’s youth members.
“She is one of our children, and we are here united in our prayers for her. This is so sad, but we are also here to let her family know that they are not alone. Her father is a police officer who puts his life on the line every day to serve others, and now the family needs us. We will not give up hope. I was also in a coma at the age of 26, and God healed me. If God could do that for me, He can do it for Chelsé-Leigh too. I am appealing to everybody to continue keeping her in their prayers. I also want to give a special thanks to Sharon Lang. Chelsé-Leigh is one of her youth members, and Ms Lang co-ordinated the prayer evening with all the different sectors of Heideveld CAN,” Ms Adriaanse said.
The Grade 9 pupil’s mother, Gretchen Tiemie, expressed their gratitude to all.
“We appreciate every prayer, message, and phone call for Chelsé-Leigh’s recovery. We are overwhelmed with support from the community and those from across the world. Our gratitude also goes out to the medical staff of Melomed Gatesville. I ask that everybody continues to pray for her,” Ms Tiemie said.
Melomed Gatesville spokesperson Shameema Adams confirmed that Chelsé-Leigh was in a critical condition, with extensive head injuries.
Manenberg SAPS spokesman Captain Ian Bennett said police were investigating a case of reckless and negligent driving.