Helicopter ride of a lifetime for brave brothers

Netcare 911 salutes ‘superhero’ bone marrow donor saving older brother

Tuesday, July 18 2023

Exzevia dreams of becoming a paramedic. The eight-year-old who is being treated for leukaemia, and his brother Guidance, six, recently had the chance to be honorary members of the Netcare 911 flight crew for a day.

The emergency medical services provider teamed up with The Reach For A Dream Foundation, a leading non-profit organisation that fulfils the dreams of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses, to surprise the brothers from Philippi, taking them and their mother on a once-in-a-lifetime flight around Cape Town in a Netcare 911 emergency medical services helicopter.

“We really enjoyed it. When the ambulance came to pick us up from home it was already exciting for the boys, and it really came as a surprise when one of the Netcare 911 crew announced we are going to the airport. We had no idea what was coming,” recalls the boys’ mother, Susan Sibanda.

Pic: Netcare 911 and Reach For A Dream helped to make a dream come true when they surprised Susan Sibanda and her sons recently, taking the family on a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter flight. Eight-year-old Exzevia is being treated for leukaemia, and Guidance, six, is a matching bone marrow donor for his brother.
Pic: Netcare 911 Western Cape helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) manager Dayne Olsen (left) is pictured with Susan Sibanda and her sons Exzevia (8) and Guidance (6) during their recent Reach For A Dream helicopter flight around Cape Town.
Pic: Exzevia, who dreams of being a paramedic one day, became an honorary member of the Netcare 911 flight crew. He is pictured with Netcare 911 HEMS pilot Richard Brodie.


Erna Serfontein, a Netcare 911 emergency care technician who was part of the ambulance crew, says that it was heart-warming to see Exzevia and Guidance’s excitement. “Their faces when we picked them up, and the way their eyes lit up just having a ride in the ambulance was so touching.”

After a quick tour of the Western Cape Netcare 911 HEMS base, to the family’s amazement, Susan and her sons were ushered onto a helicopter for a sightseeing flight around Cape Town.

“At first, the boys were a little scared, but it was such an exciting experience and we enjoyed it so much. Thank you to Reach For A Dream and Netcare 911 - we will remember this special day for a long time.”

“We believe in the power of dreams and their ability to inspire hope even in the most challenging circumstances. When we learned about Exzevia's dream of becoming a paramedic, we knew we had to make it come true. Thanks to the passionate team at Netcare 911, we could create this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Heidi Rowley, Western Cape Branch Manager at Reach For A Dream.

The family has not had an easy time in recent months, as Exzevia is currently undergoing regular treatment and his superhero of a brother, Guidance, is a matching bone marrow donor for the transplant his brother so desperately needs.

“It was a privilege to help make this dream come true for Exzevia, and to include the gift of love and the hope Guidance is giving his older brother. He is the embodiment of a superhero,” Serfontein says.

“Exzevia’s other dream was to own a laptop, and Netcare 911 staff rallied around to make this a reality too,” adds Dayne Olsen, Netcare 911 Western Cape HEMS manager.

“When the family got back to the base, we were delighted to present this brave boy with a laptop, as well as a Netcare 911 teddy bear and accessories for both brothers to always remember the experience.

“On behalf of all of us at Netcare 911, we wish Exzevia a journey of healing, and are most thankful to Reach For A Dream for the opportunity to assist in making his dream come true,” Olsen concludes.


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