It’s time people who stop for others are recognised, say doc

Nantes Athletic Club chairperson, Caroline Peters, left, and right, Dr Caroline Lee, the first respondent on the scene when Nantes club runner, Faroza Vermeulen, collapsed due to a fateful heart attack during this years Two Oceans Marathon.

Picture: Fuad Esack

On a night of moving tributes, club members who assisted Ms Vermeulen on that fateful day, Saturday March 31, were also honoured for their role in trying to save her life.

“We got together to honour our sister, Faroza, who lost her life on Southern Cross Drive, at the Two Oceans Marathon over the Easter weekend this year,” said club founder and chairperson Caroline Peters.

“It was just so special to have a doctor, who was the first respondent, to fly here today from Johannesburg to come and honour her memory. The other doctors, the paramedics that lent a hand and, of course, the Nantes runners who couldn’t finish their race, they were all honoured. This touched our club so much. It was a special ceremony for a special woman today,” she said.

Dr Caroline Lee, who was first medic on the scene, says it’s not uncommon for such incidents to happen.

An avid runner herself, Dr Lee especially flew down from Johannesburg to attend last week’s ceremony.

“I have stopped, at many races, where somebody got knocked over by a car or that type of thing and it happens very often. A lot of people go unrecognised for what they do and I think it’s time that people who do stop for others, get recognised. We, don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” she said.

Ms Vermeulen’s mother, Faisha Andrews, affectionately known “Mama” said: “I was with my daughter Faroza, she ran past me and told me ‘mommy don’t run so fast’.

“Three minutes later, I saw them struggling with my child. We actually expected her to come right again but, when we got to the hospital, they told me they were taking me to the morgue,” said Ms Andrews, who was also among the recipients of the club’s special award.

At the time of her daughter’s death, the news upset her so much, that she also suffered a heart attack.

However, she said, she was glad to be with those who fondly remembered her daughter.