Mother Carol-Ann Small shares her son’s story with ROLLING INSPIRATION.
The youngest of an identical pair of twins by 23 minutes, Tristan was born at five and a half months. For the first two months, he was incubated at the Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands, Cape Town. He weighed less than a kilogram. He was born with a hole in his heart, and when the boys were a little older, they were both were diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Tristan had to undergo numerous Botox operations on his legs and a hamstring operation. The twins have a younger sister who is also a wheelchair user. She was born at six months.
Although Tristan does not use a wheelchair like his siblings do, he does have a slight limp in one leg.
Tristan stayed in kindergarten until the age of five, and then he attended the Agape School in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, which caters for children for disabilities. At the age of ten, he transferred to the special school Eros School in Athlone, Cape Town.
He and his brother completed their matric at this accessible school. When Tristan turned 18, he and his brother started working at the Miracles Workshop in Goodwood, Cape Town. The organisation offers sheltered employment for people with disabilities.
After three years working at Miracles Workshop, Tristan was offered a learnership to work as a hospital aid at Alexandra Hospital in Cape Town, which cares specifically for people with mental health issues or intellectual disabilities. By the age of 23, Tristan became a permanent employee at the hospital.
Tristan is a hard worker with good manners and an eagerness to work, and he aims to please. He loves his job and will always be grateful to Roger Fritz, CEO of Tygerberg Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD), and the staff from the Miracles Workshop for believing in him and assisting him on his journey.