Carolynn (37) was born with a very rare heart/lung disorder (Scimitar syndrome), which is hereditary and her uncle was also the first patient to be diagnosed in South Arica. She was very sick as a child, but with plenty of love and care she stabilised until the age of four when she started having seizures. The doctors could not figure out the cause and unfortunately MRI’s weren’t in use yet, so they put it down to anxiety. At the age of 18 she however experienced a very severe grand mall seizure, an MRI could then be performed and it was discovered that only half her brain was functioning. The Neurosurgeon however could not understand how well she functions and basically described her as a little miracle!
Carolynn attended a school for intellectually challenged children and did exceptionally well. She completed her grade 10 and then enrolled at a secretarial college where she graduated after a year. She has had a few jobs, some good and some not so good and that is when her parents unfortunately discovered how intolerant people can be of special needs.
During this time Carolynn was living with her father in Cape Town, but she wasn’t very happy. That was when her mother came across the Sunfield Home website and decided it was the perfect place for her! She has been living here since 2018. Says her mother, Lynn: “They have been exceptional with her, going way and beyond the call of duty to help and assist. She works as their receptionist and absolutely loves her job and the staff who are all God’s angels.”
We also chatted to Carolynn herself and asked her to tell us more about her experience here. These are her own words:
“The nicest thing about staying at Sunfield Home is the beautiful surroundings with mountains all around us and waking up in the morning and hearing the birds. My job as the receptionist involves answering the phone, making coffee, and making sure the office is run well. My big wish for Sunfield Home is for the residents to appreciate the staff and housemothers for what they do for us every day.”
Carolynn admits that even though she couldn’t see her family during Covid-19, she knew that she was in a safe place and would be well looked after. She has a few friends at Sunfield Home and likes to talk to Elizabeth, Leah, Brenda and Madel. She however prefers to spend time on her own or with her dog Rambo.
To us Carolynn is one of many examples of how special needs can be incorporated in the workplace, allowing a person with special needs to live life to their utmost potential.
Lynn says that raising a special needs child was a blessing. They have had their challenges, but no more than with their other daughters. She shares that she had learned so much from Carolynn, like how to be patient and tolerant of others, to appreciate the pure innocent joy in the small things in life and so much more.
Says Lynn: “With all her physical issues, her strength and tenacity astounds me. I tell others all the time that these people are our earth’s angels. They are here to teach us the real value of life. My dreams for Carolynn have come true – to be in an environment where she is accepted, encouraged, nurtured and loved for who she is.”