3-year-old Elijah left paralyzed after polio-like diagnosis, dreams of walking again

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Elijah Cottle, a 3-year-old boy from Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa, was diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a rare and serious polio-like condition that left him paralyzed from the waist down. 

Despite the devastating news, Elijah remained positive and cheerful as he fought for his life in the ICU at Christiaan Barnard Hospital in Cape Town. After several months of intense treatment and recovery, Elijah was finally discharged from the hospital in September 2022. His family was overjoyed to have him home, but they knew that the road to recovery would be long and costly.

Elijah Cottle at Christiaan Barnard Hospital in Cape Town on 19th August 2022, after his Tracheostomy operation

Elijah dreams of walking again

Currently, Elijah’s rehabilitation schedule is intense, with 4-day sessions every week consisting of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and hydrotherapy. He also has a caregiver to assist with his needs and transportation to and from therapies. Despite the challenges, Elijah remains determined to recover and regain his mobility.

“Elijah has shown his resilience, strength and bravery throughout this experience. Our gift from God, who loved to run, jump and once believed he could do anything, has been stripped of this and will now learn to adjust to his new quality of life from a wheelchair. We are all learning about the boundless courage it takes to fuel his path to recovery.” – says Courtney.

Elijah Cottle lives with his family in Hout Bay.

With Elijah’s condition showing little improvement, his family began researching other options overseas. They learned of a procedure called a Nerve Transfer Surgery that has been performed successfully on a boy with similar symptoms in the United States and could be Elijah’s best chance at walking again. 

However, the family faces significant financial obstacles to get Elijah to the United States for a procedure that their medical aid will not cover. They have launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising R500,000.

Isaiah Cottle (Elijah’s Brother), Courtney Matthei (Elijah’s Mom). Dino Cottle (Elijah’s Dad) and Elijah Cottle

The outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming. Friends, family, and even strangers have donated to the campaign, raising over R260 000 for Elijah’s much-needed treatment.

The Cottle family remain hopeful and grateful for the support they have received thus far. The family is asking for continued support and donations to help Elijah on his journey to recovery and raise awareness about AFM. Despite the challenges they are facing, they remain determined to give Elijah the best chance to walk again.


Support Elijah on BackaBuddy:  https://www.backabuddy.co.za/elijah-cottle

Alternatively, donate via Snapscan: https://pos.snapscan.io/qr/Elijah_Cottle

For updates, please follow Elijah on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elijah.cottle/

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