FEARS: Shaqeelah Carollisen, 43.       CREDIT: Manqoba Ngidi
FEARS: Shaqeelah Carollisen, 43. CREDIT: Manqoba Ngidi
TALENT AT RISK: Riyaaz Carollisen, 15
TALENT AT RISK: Riyaaz Carollisen, 15

This mom is desperately trying to raise R75 000 to save her son from going blind.

Shaqeelah Carollisen, a single mother of two from Hanover Park, fears her son will never be able to do the things he loves, including play soccer, if he does not get a corneal transplant.

Riyaaz Carollisen,15, has been on a transplant waiting list for two years, but has already lost 90 percent vision in his right eye.

Shaqeelah, 43, says they now have a chance to import a cornea from America, but she needs thousands of rands to do so.

“Although he is on the waiting list for a cornea, his condition has become worse and I worry that he will go completely blind,” she explains.

The teen was born with an eye condition known as Keratoconus, in which the normal round cornea thins out and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape.

Riyaaz went for his first eye test when he was six years old and his mom noticed he could not see in bright lights.

“I always thought he had a really bad eye allergy, until he was 11, when a doctor who examined him at Red Cross told us about this condition,” she says.

The mom, who works as a private carer, was able to save her son’s left eye with the help of her employer.

An eye specialist did a cross-linking procedure to make the cornea stronger.

“There is nothing they can do for his right eye; the only thing that can save it is the corneal transplant. My boss was generous enough to pay for the cross-linking which cost R18 000,” says the grateful mom.

In his medical report, Dr Michael Attenborough explains that Riyaaz needs a donor cornea which “needs to be imported from the United States at a cost of R35 000. This excludes the hospital care he requires as well.”

Shaqeelah fears her son will never be able to drive, or even finish school.

“He loves playing soccer and has won many awards for most dedicated player,” she says.

Anyone who would like to help Riyaaz, can contact Shaqeelah on 073 0511 519.