Royden Groenemeyer, 20, from Tafelsig, is preparing for his 21st birthday bash next week.
Royden was born with a brain tumour, suffered a heart attack, meningitis and had three operations, all before the age of three.
Doctors didn’t give him long to live, but he has since defied the odds, meeting his favourite rugby player Breyton Paulse when he was four, finishing his matric exam, going to his matric ball with no fewer than two beauties (Daily Voice, Dec 1, 2014) and even getting a full-time job.
His mother, Allison Groenemeyer, 45, is planning a maritime-themed bash for her miracle child.
“He is my miracle child and we are thankful to God for carrying him this far,” the mom says.
“Even though doctors gave up on him and told us to prepare for his funeral at three years old, look how far he has come.”
Allison and her husband, Ronald Groenemeyer, 45, says they never expected to prepare for Royden’s 21st party, but made plans nevertheless.
“We are inviting 250 people to his party because we usually cook a lot of food for the community when it’s his birthday, but this one is extra special,” says Allison.
Royden works at a factory shop where he is the only disabled worker.
His father says: “He works at Basic Jeans where he pastes stickers onto price tags.
“He totally enjoys the work he does, although working with normal people who are different to him is a major adaptation, but he copes.
“He has been working there for two years and I’m extremely proud of how he is coping.
“Royden still plays with his friends who are much younger than him on his off days.”
The feisty Royden says although the prospect of death has been a constant companion, he is happy to have (almost) made it to 21.
“I can barely believe I made it,” he tells the Daily Voice.
“It feels unreal, but I’m happy I can be here to celebrate my birthday with my family.
“My mommy always makes my birthdays special and this one seems bigger than the normal.”
His birthday is on April 14 and his bash the next day.