A Michael Oak Waldorf School pupil was selected as one of the beneficiaries of the 2019 Miggie Challenge, and hopes these funds will get her one step closer to fulfilling her dream of studying at a prestigious theatre school.
The annual Miggie Challenge is a freshwater bank angling competition that raises money and awareness for cystic fibrosis and organ donation, and took place yesterday, Wednesday May 1, at Paarl Dam, in Paarl.
The competition was started in 2014 to celebrate the 21st birthday of angler Stefan “Miggie” King. Stefan had cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. He died two months after that year’s competition, but the Cape Town Angling Club made the Miggie Challenge an annual event to celebrate his life and positive spirit.
Nicole Weston, 19, from Plumstead, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of one. Her mother, Hannah, said she kept getting ill, but once diagnosed, they were able to manage her disease, to ensure that she had a “normal” life and was able to take part in activities she enjoyed.
Nicole said she grew up relatively fine, and didn’t need to use nebulisers for the first few years. By the age of five, she had occasionally needed the nebuliser, and said the disease only really started affecting her as she got older.
She recalled one such time, when her lung function had dropped to its lowest at 31 last year. At the time she was not able to walk, jog or do any physical activity, as her body could not handle it. She spent about two weeks in hospital, where they managed to double her lung capacity.
Nicole said she regularly did physio, and currently uses her nebulisers about six times a day.
Her life-long dream was to be a professional ballet dancer, but with her disease, she knows this can never be her reality. She has been a ballerina since the age of four, but has managed to find her second passion and love: the arts.
“I fell in love with the stage when I was grade 9. My dream is to go to the Waterfront Theatre Academy to do drama and dance, but finances are tight,” she said.
When she found out she had been selected as a beneficiary for the challenge, Nicole said she could not contain her excitement.
“This will go a long way in helping me raise the finances needed to study at the academy,” she said. They were, however, not 100% sure what they would use the money on.
Ms Weston said she was proud of her daughter, as she managed to do well in school, despite often being absent.
Miggie Challenge director Tanja Booysen said they were able to raise more than R168 000 for beneficiaries over the past five years. They raised R14 000 in their first year, and last year they raised a record amount of R63 000.
“This year we want to make a difference in two or more people’s lives, who are living with cystic fibroses. The Miggie Challenge is an event where only a donation is needed to participate. Therefore, we are very dependent on each person’s generosity, as well as getting the public to join us on the day and help us make this event a success.”
Ms Booysen said their goal was to make the Miggie Challenge an annual event that will coincide with Miggie’s birthday, April 29.
“May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, and we plan on doing our part to raise awareness. In the future we hope to have big sponsors on board who support our cause, and go further in spreading cystic fibrosis and organ donation awareness,” she said.