“No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and Never Give Up” are the words with which Elsanne Kamffer heads up her blog.
Inspiring words, considering that just over four months ago Elsanne was shot by her ex-husband before he turned the gun on himself and took his own life. Elsanne was struck by three bullets, of which one passed through her lower spine and left her paralysed from the chest down.
Since the tragic incident took place on 30 October last year, Elsanne has been hospitalised and underwent stringent rehabilitation. She returned home just over a week ago, and true to her “Never Give Up” perspective on her new normal of being in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, she is soaring above this devastating reality.
And her ability to bounce back into life is leaving everyone around her hugely inspired.
On Monday 5 March during the morning show insert ‘Make us Smile’ on Smile 90.4FM, a colleague of Elsanne, who was in the office when the shooting occurred, called the show to say how excited they are that Elsanne is due to be back at work in a week’s time. She elaborated further on Elsanne’s amazing fighting spirit… “Sy’s so ‘n positiewe mens en ons is so lief vir haar … she’s been an inspiration to so many people along the way and she’s already helping others who’ve been through a difficult time”. Lauren also told Smile Breakfast’s Bobby and Lindy about Elsanne’s blog that she started, aptly named ‘My Journey Back’.
The following morning, Bobby and Lindy called Elsanne live on air to get a first-hand account of her traumatic experience and her fighting spirit through recovery. They also spoke to her new partner, Ivan, who she describes as “the rock in her life”. Ivan pointed out that their biggest immediate challenge is to get their home, specifically the kitchen, renovated to be wheelchair friendly so that Elsanne can start cooking again, something she’s passionate about.
True to Smile 90.4FM’s solutions based approach, Bobby and Lindy couldn’t leave the story there and immediately started working on finding a way to help Elsanne.
On Wednesday morning, ‘Smile to the Rescue with Bobby and Lindy’ was launched, with a plea to all Smile 90.4FM listeners to come together and help out where they can.
Immediately the phones in the studio started ringing. First there was Jano from Woodspeck Designs who offered to design and build the new kitchen from start to finish. Then, Stuart from Timber City Stellenbosch called to say he’ll supply all the wood and new kitchen counter tops, followed by Chris from Fransisco Projects offering to supply the paint and do the paint work himself.
And the generosity of Smile 90.4FM’s listeners didn’t end there. The messages kept streaming in from people wanting to lend a helping hand. Everything, from financial contributions to electrical work, plumbing, decorating, even an offer from food retailer SPAR to stock the new kitchen for Elsanne.
‘Smile to the Rescue with Bobby and Lindy’ was now in full swing. Contractors swarmed around Elsanne and Ivan’s house, working around the clock to rebuild her kitchen.
Unable to contain their excitement, Bobby and Lindy couldn’t stay away and dropped in mid-week to see what progress had been made.
As they reported back on Thursday morning, the phone lines in studio lit up again. This time from listeners generously offering personal contributions to help relieve Elsanne from the stress of the renovation process. Anything from home cooked meals to cleaning up and free consultation from an occupational therapist was offered. Then came the call from a prominent hotel in the Cape Town CBD to put Elsanne and a friend up for the weekend, free of charge, to escape the madness of the building work taking place at home.
With Elsanne away for the weekend, it allowed ‘Smile to the Rescue with Bobby and Lindy’ to complete the project and set up a huge surprise for the big Monday morning reveal.
And that all happened today.
This morning, Smile Breakfast’s Bobby and Lindy presented their show live from Elsanne’s home in Kraaifontein between 6am and 9am.
Make sure to check in again tomorrow, right here on The Smile Good News Network, to see the big reveal and hear all about the next chapter in the Elsanne Kamffer story.
This inspiring, strong woman is yet to move mountains with her attitude of gratitude.
Ben Burger – Station Producer, Smile 90.4FM