A Ballito resident’s wish to celebrate her birthday at Ballito Junction came true last week thanks to some careful planning and a helping hand from the community.
Kirsty Leigh is courageously fighting a rare neurological-neuromuscular lung condition and epilepsy which requires access to a ventilator and oxygen 24 hours a day, making any outing especially challenging. “The last time I went shopping was ages ago because I’ve been completely bedridden for four years and before that in a wheelchair for three years. During this time I’ve also been in and out of hospital for over 35 surgeries,” Kirsty Leigh explains. “Travelling in an ambulance to the hospital and back home again means I never get to see anything outside as the windows are tinted.”
Having spent several birthdays in hospital, Kirsty Leigh was eager to spend her special day by bravely venturing out for the first time in years. “I thought a trip to be Ballito Junction would be a wonderful way to spend some time – just to feel the vibe, see the shops, and get something to drink with my mom,” she adds.
When the Pick n Pay Ballito team heard about Kirsty Leigh’s wish to visit Ballito Junction for her 28th birthday they immediately pledged their support. It wasn’t long before the community rallied behind Kirsty Leigh and offers to help came flooding in from Netcare, Specialised Rescue Services, Wednesday Club as well as Ballito Junction Centre Management and tenants Pick n Pay, Dischem, Tashas and Edgars – all to ensure Kirsty Leigh’s trip to the mall was as comfortable and memorable as possible.
Accompanied by a full medical team, Kirsty Leigh took in the sights at Ballito Junction from her stretcher bed and had the chance to experience the range of products on offer at Pick n Pay and Dischem. Kirsty Leigh was also treated to a mini-makeover at Edgars after which she enjoyed a delicious milkshake at Tashas where various stores joined in to wish her a happy birthday with flowers and gift vouchers.
“Kirsty Leigh is an exceptional young woman and we feel extremely privileged that she chose to spend her birthday with us. The many hurdles she continues to overcome is an inspiration to everyone who meets her,” says Ballito Junction CEO Geraldine Jorgensen.
“It was my dream to create a special memory with my mother as we used to go shopping together all the time. Its memories like these we all too easily take for granted,” says Kirsty Leigh. “I want to thank everyone involved for making a truly wonderful day possible for me. I will never forget it.”