SIX weeks ago, during one of his regular trips to Johannesburg, Sydney’s Gary Meyers was deeply inspired when meeting 38-year-old occupational therapist Kerry-Lee Brandt Salamon, whose damaged prosthetic left arm was in urgent need of replacement.
Nine years earlier, she was a talented acrobat, who lost her arm and suffered major trauma after a horrific six-metre fall from a trapeze while rehearsing for a show at Sun City Super Bowl, when rigging equipment failed.
Many surgeries and therapy sessions later, Brandt Salamon’s positivity, inner strength and willingness to talk openly about what she experienced, has seen her immerse herself in charitable work, and aim to returning to practising occupational therapy once more.
She also has plans to write a book about her experience, and according to the South African Jewish Report, start a family soon with her husband Roi, whom she married just five months before her accident.
Meyers – who in February walked from Vaucluse to Canberra to raise funds for St Vincent’s Hospital – told The AJN on Friday, “When I met her in early June at Orange Grove Public School in Johannesburg, Kerry-Lee was assisting children aged between seven and nine, in the freezing cold.
“I remember being in awe, that despite her disability, she continues to give back.
“My heart melted at her story, and I decided to set up a Go Fund Me page to raise AU$24,000, which would be enough to purchase a new bionic arm for her.”
The fundraising campaign – personally supported by South African rugby legend Francois Pienaar, who wrote a letter of support to Brandt Salamon – has been a success so far, raising more than $17,000.
Last week, Meyers – who is a huge Springboks fan – confirmed that a bionic arm has been ordered, and the medical prosthetist that treated Brandt Salamon since her accident, Terence Garnett-Bennett, has offered to assemble and fit it for no charge.
“I’ve supported many charitable causes over the years, but I feel that this project is one of the most important and inspirational that I’ve ever done,” Meyers said.
“A nobler cause is hard to find, [because] Kerry-Lee is outgoing, happy, vivacious and more than anything, gives of herself, helping those in need.
“I feel chuffed to be in a position to have made this campaign, with and for Kerry-Lee, and I’d like to thank everyone who supported it.”
To find out more, or make a donation, visit gofund.me/f0ccbc44