Irene Fischer


In 2002 there was an animation movie called “Lilo&Stitch” and this is where I first heard of the word “Ohana”. It is in Hawaiian. The meaning thereof resonates very deeply in my heart.

Ohana means family. Family means “no one gets left behind or forgotten.

The morning of the accident my mom and dad immediately left Rustenburg. It was a five hour trip to Bloemfontein. My sister immediately drove from Secunda to Bloemfontein (also a five hour journey). And there my mother, Julie stayed behind for six months to help and look after me, and especially my mental health.

Every day she was by my bedside, most days for up to 12 hours. 12 hours for 180 days equal approximately 2160 hours of relentless dedication, patience and love.

She is unconditional love personified with a backbone of stainless steel.

irene fischer accident
My mom and me in a good mood in rehab

My dad, Naas had responsibilities at his work he had to honour during the week and therefore he could only visit during weekends. So every weekend for six months he drove the five hours to visit me and my mom. Six months is 24 weekends equals 240 hours on the road.

But he was always very positive and affectionate even though all the driving had to be very taxing and draining. He was the one who planted these golden words in my mind:

Attitude determines attitude.

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Dad and me my first day in Pasteur rehab (Januarie 2010)

On Friday afternoons my sister, Julette, left for OR Tambo to catch a flight to Bloemfontein. After six months her aeroplane tickets alone was something like R35 200! But love cannot be measured in any existing currency.

She knew love can only be measured in time, attention, hugs, kisses and encouraging dialogue.

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Julette and me

My family’s unyielding support and loving encouragement carried me when my legs couldn’t walk. Love is such a huge necessity if one wishes to conquer any amount of challenges that can follow a traumatic accident.

Their incredible support helped to soothe my troubled soul and I could breathe a little easier.

Thanks to their constant praise and reassurance I could find reasons in every day to keep going. To make them proud. To show my gratitude. Being able to walk would be my way to pay them back for the uncountable minutes of patience the invested in keeping my headspace fertile and confident.

john f kennedy quote