The surprise that started with a single step …
When Sarah Jones, a third-year student in Sociology and Labour Relations, decided to email the NWU mascot team for a gift for her sister’s fourteenth birthday, she got so much more.
When the mascot team read about Sarah’s gift for Hope, they wanted to make it a little more special. Instead of just a doll, Eagi would deliver it in person on Hope’s birthday.
“I wanted to give her a physical gift, an Eagi doll, to remind her of me daily. When I emailed you, I was hoping for a signed Eagi doll, I wasn’t expecting you guys to deliver it personally,” says Sarah.
Hope was born with Congenital Myopathy which affected all of her voluntary muscles, to the extent that she was unable to swallow at birth. Added to this were a bi-lateral hearing deficit and other physical challenges.
With the love of her family, the assistance of several excellent medical specialists, and the ongoing intervention of various supportive therapies, Hope has made incredible progress, achieving several age-related developmental milestones.
“My parents named her Hope because they believed she would bring hope to other people,” she explains. “They also started the Hope Jones Foundation as a way to pay it forward. The foundation aspired to educate children about people living with disabilities.”
*The Hope Jones Foundation was closed this year due to the effect of the pandemic.
Sarah and Hope’s relationship became closer after she started studying. She would regularly call to check-in and share her experience with her sister.
Hope recently had reconstructed surgery and Sarah wanted to make this birthday extra special. “I am always so excited to see the mascots,” says Sarah. “I am a peer helper and during R&O, I would always see them. They represent us, they are our friends.”