GEORGE NEWS - Blyth Thompson (92), a member of the George Hospital Board and the fundraiser for the proposed new Children's Ward project, has survived Covid-19 - while moving house and shortly after undergoing an operation on his leg.
Thompson, who celebrated his 92nd birthday on 23 August, told George Herald he received the news of his positive Covid test in the midst of moving house from Kingswood Golf Estate to a new home in the Groenkloof Retirement Village.
He and his wife, Wendy, had to undergo testing in terms of Groenkloof's Covid protocol.
Thompson was enjoying a round of golf on the Glenwood short golf course with Rev Michiel Burger, chairman of the hospital board, when someone came rushing to them on a golf cart with a message to phone home immediately.
"You can imagine what impact that made on me. Michiel was very concerned and hopped on the cart to go back to the club- house. When I arrived there, he had already phoned Wendy who gave him the news that I had tested positive."
Against the doctor's advice, Wendy refused to leave her husband on his own for the duration of the isolation period. They went into quarantine together in their new home. "We had transferred half of our stuff here and the other half was still at Kingswood."
Thompson said he developed a serious cough. "Sometimes I would sneeze. The doctor told me according to world statistics, 70% of people over 90 who contracted the virus had died. So I am among the 30% to survive."
Burger said the board was relieved that Thompson is able to carry on with his fund-raising efforts. "We are so thankful that the Lord healed Blyth at 92 - his dream of raising the funds for the George Hospital Children's Ward is still possible by God's grace. We also wish him and Wendy many blessed years in their new, smaller home in Groenkloof."
Thompson said what is significant to him and Wendy of this time, was the amazing way in which their prayers were answered. He underwent an operation on the shin to have a cancerous lesion removed.
"When Wendy drove me to the theatre there had been no offers for the house at Kingswood and we had no place to go, even if it was sold. While I was in the operating theatre, Wendy received an acceptable offer, and Dr Corneels Verster skillfully removed the lesion.
When I came to from the anaesthetic, I heard one nurse say to the other, 'Have you ever in your life seen such a skillful operation?'. This of course gave me a lot of hope for my recovery. Then Michiel found us our new home and I was found to have Covid-19. Imagine if we could not sell the house, had no place to go and I had died of cancer or the virus."
Special guest at FAK event
Thompson has been invited to be a guest speaker in Grahamstown later this month at a ceremony at the Bible Monument that is being hosted by the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK). The event is a celebration of the 200-year existence of the South African Bible Society.
Thompson's great-great-grandfather, William Roland Thompson, in 1837 made a speech during the handover of a Bible by the British Settlers to a Voortrekker, Jacobus Johannes ('Koos Bybel') Uys. This was a farewell token to his party that was trekking on to new frontiers at the time.
A descendant of the Uys family will also take part in the ceremony to be held on 29 November.
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