Cassie Booyse (66), better known as Vernon Koekemoer or ‘SA’s Chuck Norris’, became an instant celebrity in 2008 after a photograph of him at a H2O Party went viral.
Currently, Vernon, who lives in Boksburg, Johannesburg, is fighting for his life, following three failed hip operations at Tambo Memorial Hospital. His fiance, Linda, says the only thing that can save him is a miracle.
Vernon’s health struggles began in 2018, when he began experiencing pain in his right hip due to advanced arthritis. Without medical aid, Vernon was booked for hip replacement surgery at Tambo Memorial Hospital in January 2019.
The operation seemed to have been successful at first. Vernon was advised to attend physiotherapy to exercise his hip to build muscle strength, but he struggled through the sessions, experienced more pain than before the operation and was unable to walk without crutches.
Months passed and Vernon returned to his surgeon, who agreed to perform a total hip replacement in February 2020. After the procedure, the surgeon discovered that the steel pin used initially was the incorrect size.
“After the total hip replacement revision, when the drain pipes were removed, the wound did not heal and was continuously draining. We returned to the surgeon to discuss the outcome many times but were dismissed” – says Linda
After Vernon’s second hip operation, his teeth began falling out and he complained of severe pain. Again, Vernon’s wound was infected. To make matters worse, Linda pulled a 30cm string out of Vernon’s wound that was left in after the procedure.
When the drainage of the wound got worse and resulted in additional pain, Vernon demanded a third procedure which took place in February 2022.
“Since day one after the surgery, he could not walk without crutches. Now his hip is full of infection, the steel pin used during the hip replacement is loose and causes extreme pain whenever Vernon moves” – says Linda
Linda says that Vernon has suffered avoidable pain, suffering and trauma over the last 5 years, that has kept him from living a full life and earning an income.
Fighting to stay alive
On Friday 16 September 2022, Linda called the ambulance to take Vernon back to Tambo Memorial Hospital, as Vernon could not take the pain of the infection anymore.
Vernon is currently bed ridden, fighting for his life, and in such immense pain that Linda says he’s contemplated taking his own life.
Support for Vernon
To help Vernon get back on his feet Good Morning Angels has been in contact with a specialist in hip replacement surgery and complications in Pretoria.
Hoping to determine an appropriate treatment plan, they have agreed to cover the cost of the consultation and the necessary tests.
Upon seeing Vernon’s story, H2O Party, have launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, appealing to the public to assist Vernon with his medical costs, living expenses as well as the after care he will need.
Since the launch of the crowdfunding campaign, South Africans and donors from around the world have contributed over R105 000 towards Vernon’s treatment.
“We just wanted to say thank you to all of our donors for their care, motivation and financial support. Your contributions mean a lot to us . This will help Cassie get well and healthy again. Thank you for your assistance during this extremely difficult time in our lives. It is greatly appreciated.” – says Linda
Support Vernon on BackaBuddy: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/cassie-booyse
Alternatively, donate via Snapscan: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/cassie-booyse
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