Lezelda Lubbe and Erik Schipper
“The last thing I expected when I visited a local eatery to get something to eat, was to leave with a new wheelchair!”
Lezelda Lubbe, Hartbeespoort’s well-known disabled mouth painter, is still overwhelmed by the generosity of Erik Schipper, owner of Van Gaalen Cheese Farm, who himself became disabled after a freak cycling accident years ago.
The two met in Hartbeespoort’s Tannie Slaai deli recently. “We were both in wheelchairs and we got talking. At one stage, Erik looked at my wheelchair and said: ‘I see your wheelchair is an antique!’ I told him I have been using it for 32 years and can’t afford a new one at the moment. And then he took the wind out of my sails by offering me one that he had spare. I was stunned,” Lezelda says.
For Erik it was a no-brainer to gift her the wheelchair. “Her wheelchair came out of Noah’s Ark! I had this spare donated to me. When I saw her wheelchair, I thought it was a sin to have an extra wheelchair when she is riding such an old one. She was extremely happy and I am happy I could help,” he says.
Lezelda suffers from the rare Phocomelia disease and was born without arms and has underdeveloped legs without knees. Her wheelchair is her ‘legs’ and she is often seen navigating Schoemansville’s streets, going shopping.
The chair had to be adjusted and the controls lowered to be used by her feet. “It rides like a dream. It is fantastic, and it is faster,” she laughs. “I cannot express my gratitude in words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Erik. You have changed my life.”