WAYNE was born in September, 1988. He suffered continually with sinus bronchitis. Doctors advised we should move away from Witbank where we lived at the time, so we moved to Richards Bay and immediately, Wayne’s health improved. He thoroughly enjoyed the beach and we shuddered to see him munching on sea sand as if it were some kind of delicacy. It was a struggle to keep him away from the sand and all he wanted was to wear his little blue Speedo.
He started school at Richards Bay Junior Primary and all the teachers were crazy about this little blond-haired boy with his soft laugh. We battled to get him to cut his hair as he did not want to know about first-day-of-school haircuts. “Mommy, MacGyver has long hair, and I am your MacGyver, Mom,” he cajoled. After a lengthy explanation, he accepted the status quo and agreed to a smart haircut for his first day at school. In Grade one, he decided that since he knew the book his teacher had given him, his school career was complete. That was another story.
At the age of nine, Wayne began wrestling and immediately fell head over heels for the sport. He wrestled for 16 years and won heaps of medals. He won district and Coastal Colours and it didn’t take him long to earn his Natal Colours as the best in his weight category. He even won the South African title and was chosen to represent South Africa in Turkey. He made world history as a wrestler who was able to wrestle in two different styles and in two weight categories – he was on the border between two weight categories and so qualified for both.
He may not have brought home a medal, but he enjoyed every moment of the experience. At school, he was also honoured for his achievements in extra-mural activities and we could have burst with pride. He was one of those boys who could do anything. He eagerly helped his dad in the garage and as a little tot, he developed a love for V8 engines. He often pulled things apart and then tried to put them back together – it did not always work out quite as planned. He had a great love for his sister, who was 20 months younger than him, though he was a terrible tease and loved to scare the pants off her. Countless times, he would chase her around the house with a cicada in his hand.
He didn’t like doing homework and would far rather work in the garage with his dad. Every evening, the two of them would be out in the garage working on an old 1954 Chevy. It took five years to get the old car to the point where they were happy with it. Eventually, Wayne bought a 1973 Opel and began his own V8 garage project involving blood, sweat and long hours with his dad.
When he was 16 years old, we decided as a family to register as organ donors and he was so proud of this decision and he diligently ensured the little red sticker was stuck on his new ID book. Wayne always said that should anything happen to him and treatment would not help, we should not allow him to suffer, but we should respect his wish to donate his organs to those who might have need of them. He also said he wondered if whoever received his organs would be as mad about wrestling and V8s as he was. He joked that he would hang around to make certain that the recipients took good care of his “insides”. Wayne loved bonfires and spending time with his friends. He was popular and loved to ride motorbikes and quad bikes. He even won a few prizes in quad bike oval track racing. When he began his working career, he was conscientious and hard-working; his employers spoke highly of him. He moved to Pinetown with his girlfriend and worked for a hydraulics company. They were so impressed and could not praise him enough for the work he delivered. He did talk about getting engaged to his girlfriend, but we hadn’t heard too much about those plans.
In 2015, the pair came home for the weekend to celebrate Wayne’s birthday. The V8 had to be washed and polished because it was the Port Festival in Richards Bay and he wanted to display his Opel Manta. Wayne also decided he needed petrol, so he and a friend who needed to buy something hopped in the car and took off.
The worst phone call in the world came not long afterwards to inform us that there had been an accident. My heart was shattered into a million pieces and full of grief, we approached the accident scene, praying. Hours later we stood by Wayne’s bedside praying, begging God to please hear our prayers. His birthday was only 2 days away. How could this be? It was on his 27th birthday, that the neurosurgeon advised us that Wayne was brain stem dead. I looked down at my watch. It was 6.50pm, the same time he was born. Could it be a dream? My child was lying there on the ventilator, looking like he was sleeping. Please God, please. Then reality set in. Questions were asked – would we consider organ donation?
I looked at them heartbroken. Frozen. Then I looked at my son lying there still, and I could hear him say, “Mom, please honour my wish, I told you if I couldn’t help myself any more…”. My son would never wake up, he would never walk again. Wayne would not be able to speak, read or know who he was. He would not be able to help himself. The transplant coordinator brought all the documents for us to sign.
When everything had been finalized, I walked into his room to say goodbye. The staff took good care of Wayne. He’ been shaved and his teeth had been brushed as he lay there, still. As a mother how could you ever give up? But as a mother that loved her son so much, I had to… heartbroken, I honoured his wish. He was pushed into theatre his body intact, skin not even scraped. His were the most beautiful brown eyes.
Our beloved son, Wayne, became an organ donor that day and saved up to seven people’s lives.
My prayer is that every person that received the gift of life from such a hero be blessed today. You have received the best.
Please help to save people’s lives, consider becoming a potential organ donor. Talk about organ and tissue donation, register as a potential donor and then SHARE your decision. Make sure that your family knows your wishes.