On Christmas Eve a 13-year-old aspiring ballerina, Kiara Mun-Gavin, was involved in an awful car crash in Durban, South Africa. She had been on her way to church with her mother when her entire life changed in an instant. Her devastated parents – well known Durban North pastors Jaci and Richard Mun-Gavin – were told to prepare for the worst.
Doctors initially gave Kiara just 48 hours to live, and said that in the unlikely event of her surviving longer, she would probably be in a permanently vegetative state.
According to Open News, the teenager suffered extensive brain damage when a motorbike collided with the car she was travelling in – striking the passenger side, where she sat.
Doctors operated immediately, reconstructing her skull… but the following morning Kiara’s brain started to swell, and doctors had to remove a section of her skull and place it in her abdomen for safe-keeping – to hopefully one day move back to her skull.
But as agonising as the past ten days have been (with small steps forward, followed by setbacks), Kiara’s parents (and her siblings) have been lifted up high by a soaring wave of love, prayers and unwavering support from friends and strangers. Even Kiara’s school pals have camped out in the hospital from Day One. (They were kindly given the Day Ward to sleep in for a week when it wasn’t being used during the holiday season.)
Hope has never been allowed to die – and together with all those prayers, love and surgeries – it has incredibly paid off.
Kiara miraculously regained consciousness, against all odds, a couple of days ago!!
And not only is she no longer in a coma, but she’s been able to touch her dad’s hair, read a book, write her name, stand on her feet… and even point her ballerina toes.
Of course it’s a long journey and it’s early days… but even the doctors are calling it a miracle. A Christmas miracle.
Her mother Jaci says: “Kind friends, your support is not only overwhelming, it is essential. You are carrying us, and I believe your prayers and your love are integral to Kiara’s healing. Pace yourselves. We don’t know how long we will need you.”
#KeepHopeAlive is the hashtag that Jaci uses.
The medical team of skilled doctors, specialists and nurses have also been praised.
And Kiara’s dad Richard has honoured two men and their families who have helped him and his wife through their “darkest days”.
Addressing Mark van Pletsen, he wrote:
What took place over the days from the 24-27 Dec as Jaci and I were needing to navigate the turbulent waters of life and death, funerals and hope for something different, ‘end of life’ decisions for Kiara and every emotion under the sun, you left your family on Christmas Day, flew to our city to be with us, took the reins when we didn’t know where to steer, and navigated us through not only turbulent, but treacherous, waters. To you, (Candice van Pletsen) and your boys, thank you for sending him to us! Words will never be enough. You are heroes to Jacs and me.
To Mark Nyman, he wrote:
You have not left my side since Christmas Day. You have been at the hospital when we have arrived in the morning and you’re still there when we leave in the evening.
Your wife, (Monique Nyman), and your remarkable kids, have made the hospital their holiday hotel as they have slept there, prayed there, trusted there and walked with us each step.
You, my friend, I have no words that can do justice to your actions these past 9 days. You have put your arms around us, you have continually pointed us in the right direction when we have lost our way, you have added strength to us when we had little, and you have helped us to shoot straight in every moment and every decision.
Richard said these two men, and their families, “have been the backbone behind much of what you have seen.
“We know that all glory belongs to God, but we can certainly honour men! And these two are worthy of honour.”
He asked that their names be shared and known in Kiara’s story – “To Mark and Candice van Pletsen and Mark and Monique Nyman, we salute you.”
Jaci also paid tribute to South Africans of all races who have supported them through this traumatic time:
People have been human to us… it’s a moment that we all realise that we bleed the same on the inside, and our hearts beat the same for our children. And we love you South Africa. You are beautiful. Keep loving each other the way that you have shown that you can love us in this moment. Let it be something we never forget – how to love one another.
Prayers are continuing for Kiara’s full recovery, and her parents cannot wait to see her performing ballet again…
Kiara Mun-Gavin’s parents discuss the teenager’s recovery
I want to take a moment to honour two men, and their families, for who they have been to me in my darkest days.@…
Follow Kiara’s story here: www.facebook.com/jacimungavin1/