by Heather Laskin, Western Journalism
Growing up in South Africa in the 1980s, Martin Pistorius was like other young boys his age — he could run and play, and he loved anything electronic. But at the age of 12, Martin contracted a mysterious disease. Doctors weren’t sure what it was, but hypothesized that it could be cryptococcal meningitis.
At first, Martin lost the ability to move his limbs. Then he stopped being able to make eye contact. Eventually, he was unable to speak. Doctors told his parents, Rodney and Joan Pistorius, that Martin was a “vegetable”–and the best thing to do would be to take him home and keep him comfortable until he died.
But Martin didn’t die. “Martin just kept going, just kept going,” Joan said. Rodney recalled their daily routine for 12 years — he would get up at 5 every morning to get Martin ready for his day at a special care center. “Eight hours later,” he said, “I’d pick him up, bathe him, feed him, put him in bed, set my alarm for two hours so that I’d wake up to turn him so that he didn’t get bedsores.”
© 2014 Western Journalism