Darryn August
The photo that went viral in 2016 of Darryn August. Source: FB

Funds raised locally and internationally for the recovering South African hero, who was thrown from a train by robbers, have soared to over a quarter of a million rand… with the hero in question – Darryn August – revealing that the kindness of strangers who have donated unselfishly has “made me even stronger in the process”.

Darryn August
Source: FB/Darryn August

As of Tuesday morning, R278,620.75 had been raised on a BackABuddy page set up by his cousin, Edwin Brooks, and a friend Graeme Dale Kuys.

The Athlone 27-year-old has been hailed a hero since he was thrown from a train a week ago, fracturing his spine, after trying to protect other passengers from being robbed by a gang that had boarded the Metrorail train.

Writing on the fundraising page, Kuys explained “he was hit and stabbed multiple times and then thrown from a moving train and hit a tree. He has been hospitalised at Tygerberg hospital and has already undergone a number of operations. He was attacked because he stood up in defence of others.”

Speaking to the Cape Argus, August humbly downplayed his heroic deed. He said: “I was the first person they wanted to rob, the person in their way. The ladies were hidden in the corner while they were busy with me. So inadvertently I saved their lives by using myself as a decoy.”

He was apparently hit over the head with a metal object before being flung from the train and losing consciousness.

August told the paper he has been overwhelmed by the support. The fund was begun to raise R50,000… but thanks to an unbelievable outpouring of generosity, the target has been revised several times and is currently at R350,000.

The ‘Everest for August’ fund will see Kuys ‘Everesting’ on 14 May. He explains Everesting on a bicycle as doing a single ride with a total elevation gain of 8848m. “The ride should be done on a single climb and repeated until the height of Everest is reached, there is no time limit to the attempt but the everester/s should not sleep until the total elevation is reached.”

Darryn August
Darryn August. Source: FB/Darryn August

For this fundraiser, Kuys will summit the Steenbras viewpoint climb, Gordon’s Bay, a total of 36 times to achieve the goal.

Many of those donating have left incredibly moving messages that August says have brought him to tears “and get me very emotional”.

Although he is still in some pain, he says he has forgiven the attackers – none of whom have been arrested yet – and feels “optimistic”. He was due to be transferred to Groote Schuur hospital today to begin physiotherapy.

August is still waiting for x-ray results which his doctors are due to deliver tomorrow, confirming whether or not he will be able to walk again.

The money raised will be used for his treatment and as a fund for the future.

Although many friends have donated, August told the Cape Argus “I don’t know most of these people, but they have donated unselfishly and have made me even stronger in the process.”

Kuys has invited everyone to join him for a picnic or even to cycle on 14 May.

Updated 10 May 2016.

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Everest For August fundraising page