Recipient Stories

Nelmari De Beer

Bone Tissue Recipient

For two years Nelmari de Beer (24) suffered constant pain and a series of misdiagnoses. The attractive blonde woman explains how in 2014 her misery began with her experiencing a severe pain in her left side.

Initially she was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. When her pain remained after completing a course of treatment, she went back to her doctor; to be diagnosed this time with appendicitis. But the removal of her appendix still did not resolve the problem, and it was only when a large red spot appeared on her thigh, that she was referred to an oncologist for a biopsy and further tests.

“This was an extremely traumatic time for me and my family. At my age, the last thing one wants to think about is the possibility of cancer. I’m the youngest of three children and my mother took it particularly badly. Fortunately the results of the biopsy came back negative for cancer, but there was a serious infection, which was eroding the bone and there was a real danger of losing my leg,” says De Beer.

“The specialist explained to us that the most effective solution was a bone allograft implant, which would help the diseased bone heal in time. Although the thought of another operation really scared me, the pain was excruciating. I was constantly tired and I had no zest for life left. I would have done anything just to feel better.”

Two years of constant pain and uncertainty about what was wrong has come to an end for Nelmari de Beer (24), following the successful implant of a bone allograft.

The bone allograft implant operation was a resounding success, and after six weeks of intermittent hospitalisation, her doctor gave her a clean bill of health. The scar that runs from the top of her femur almost to her knee is a reminder of the operation’s success.

Nelmari no longer walks with a limp, and is strengthening her leg daily with exercise. She feels like a new person and looks forward to the day that she and her boyfriend can hit the dance-floor again.

She has larger than life plans that include staying healthy and also to settle down and someday start a family of her own. Nelmari is grateful to the donor whose selfless gift ultimately saved her leg. She was one of the tissue donor recipients who took part in the Pretoria Donor Tribute (03 September 2016) to pay tribute to the donors and honour their families. She realises the value of becoming an organ and tissue donor and how this can change someone’s life for the better.