One nine-year old girl is raising millions for sick kids


Neurosurgery carries a different kind of risk to any other operation. A mistake of millimetres means waking up a different person, unable to think or feel the things that construct identity. At the age of nine years old, Cadi de Jager endured an operation on her brain and went on to help raise R4 million for the Red Cross Hospital, becoming an ambassador for the organisation in the process.

In 2014, De Jager was misdiagnosed with craniopharyngioma, a brain tumour common in children. Her symptoms, which included stunted growth, matched the diagnosis. After nine months of recurrent hospital visits, doctors discovered that the cause of the problems was in fact a non-cancerous cyst under her brain, which was removed in July 2016. Astonished by her willpower, The Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust appointed her as a representative – making her the youngest ambassador for the organisation. She travels across the country sharing her experience and has been featured in the hospital’s Words Kids Shouldn’t Know campaign. Her experience has inspired her dream to become a paediatric neurosurgeon.

De Jager’s radiant smile is contagious, an outward manifestation of her optimistic outlook. The strength she has displayed, and the things she has done, are proof that young children shouldn’t be underestimated.