Man clocks 22 years in hospital

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Former Highlanders Rugby Club player Lameck Kasuka, who suffered a spinal injury during training, has spent 22 years in hospital and celebrates his 45th birthday today at his parents home in Luveve before going back to Bartley Memorial Block, a unit of United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) which has become his home.

Kasuka was injured on January 25, 1990 while at practice for Highlanders at Hartsfield Rugby Ground and has been residing at the Bartley Memorial Block since the mishap.

He has during the period been transferred to Harare for a two-year rehabilitation programme from 1991 to 1993.

NewsDay caught up with Kasuka at his residence at the Bartley Memorial Block where he shared some of his experiences.

The jovial Kasuka was 23 when he got injured and has been confined to the wheelchair for 22 years. He says looking down memory lane, he has no regrets.

The help of friends and family has made me wiser and raring to go and I feel I have the energy to move on despite the injury. I am a quadriplegic; my spine was compressed at the neck. I just go home to visit.

In the first days it was a bit difficult, but I got over it. The friendliness of the staff here has made me feel very welcome. Everybody here understands me and that has just kept me going, Kasuka said.

The former rugby player, who got injured after a scrum collapsed during a training session, said the now defunct Highlanders Rugby Club made the arrangements for him to stay at the hospital.

Highlanders did not let me down in this struggle, but opened up the avenues for me to be resilient in life.

It has made me to be what I am and what I want in life. Life has ceased to be all about me. Whatever I do in life, I dont do for myself, but I help other people and have to plough back to the community for this assistance that I am getting.

The environment at home does not suit my condition and I would like to thank my friends and the staff here that has made my life easy, Kasuka said.

Kasuka has established the Lamsuka Foundation, which runs rugby tournaments for primary and secondary schools and clubs in the city with the assistance of the Matabeleland Rugby Football Club and rugby friend Thulani Tabulawa Ndlovu.

The Lamsuka Foundation holds an annual beauty contest for schools, which this year included professional models and in that project, Kasuka has adopted the Eaton Ward at UBH, where he offers assistance to patients.

The foundation also embarks on health outreaches in the citys high-density suburbs where Kasukas friends who are doctors and nurses provide free medical services.

The latest outreach was held at Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Cowdray Park last week.

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