Boy lives on nine years after doctors gave up hope

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Matheus Hamutenya

KEETMANSHOOP – ‘Your child has only two years to live,’ were the words doctors conveyed to the parents of Maxton Rinold Coetie in 2009 after he was diagnosed with neurological disorders.

Today Coetie, or Maxton as he is affectionately known, is alive and about to celebrate his ninth birthday.
The boy has since bir th been bedridden, and needed a tracheostomy, by which an opening was made in the neck in order to place a tube into his windpipe to allow air to enter the lungs in order for him to breathe. He is on
a feeding tube to eat as he cannot eat through the mouth by himself. But for Cherly Coetie, Maxton’s grandmother and legal guardian, the past nine years have been a blessing to the family, even though Maxton depends on medical machines to survive.

She a c knowl edg e s the challenges, such as Maxton’s breathing problems, structural brain malformation, severe dehydration, development delay and epileptic seizures from time to time, but she says his survival has been nothing
but the work of God.

“We got him when he was eight months, and as two years approached we were just waiting, thinking, when will it happen? But nothing happened,” she said. Maxton has been in and out of hospital, with the family needing
to take him to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, for medical
attention from time to time. Coetie says although doctors have been helpful, they too said he is only
alive by the grace of God, and that anything could happen anytime.

“He is a survivor, a fighter, but we live day by day knowing it can happen anytime – it can happen even now as we speak, but I am glad he is part of our lives, and he has touched so many lives,” she said. Coetie usually relies on the Keetmanshoop State Hospital for oxygen supply, but on Tuesday, Marco Fishing Charity Trust donated
an oxygen concentrator valued at over N$11,000, and his grateful grandmother said this will be of
great help for him and improve the quality of his life.

Coetie said her family cannot thank the company enough for making things possible for their boy and called on others in such situations to knock on the doors of companies, saying there are people who are prepared to help.
She further urged people not to give up on children even when situations seem tough, and she implored people to appreciate life and whatever it gives.

“We are grateful for this, Maxton has been in our lives and he taught me to be humble, and to appreciate
life, and I am happy for that,” she said.

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