“Losing My Arm Gave Me A Future”
One kick. One kick of the soccer ball was all it took for Raylen De Wee’s life to change forever. Nearly a decade since that fateful winter’s evening and the 21-year-old arm-amputee is carving out a bright future for himself one swing at a time.
An afternoon-turned-evening in Carnarvon spent like any other – playing sport with his friends – took a turn that De Wee could’ve scarcely believed was in the offing.
“I was 12-years-old when on the 8th of June the accident happened after I played soccer,” De Wee recalls.
The accident occurred just minutes after he and his friends had parted ways for the evening. Kicking his soccer ball as he made his way home, a poorly-lit area prevented him from seeing an electricity cable dangling in the line of one of his kicks. De Wee was “grounded” at the time which meant that the effects of the electrocution were all the more devastating.
His clothes and shoes were burnt to a cinder and the electricity which coursed through his body caused untold damage – damage that would continue to negatively affect him for years to come. Knocked unconscious by the sheer force of 33 000 volts of electricity which shot through his body, De Wee awoke in a bed at Kimberley Hospital. It was then that he received the news that anybody in such a situation dreads.
“The doctors told me there was nothing they could do for my arm and that they had no option but to amputate,” says De Wee.
The amputation would be the beginning of a period that would test the physical and mental resolve of any individual let alone a 12-year old boy. After spending three months in Kimberley Hospital, De Wee was transferred to Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.