Old age sneaked up on Thomas Mahlalela, as did declining health. Then The Luke Commission came along with a bit of encouragement and a Free Wheelchair Mission chair.

“It came from God,” Thomas said. “I do not have anything to give, except to say thank you. I have no silver or gold.”

A TLC staff member explains to Thomas how to maintain his new wheelchair.

Concerned for her father-in-law, Takhona Mahlalela brought Thomas to a TLC rural outreach at their community school for medications and any other help offered.

Instructions accomplished, recipient and caregiver and TLC staff alike express thankfulness.

“One day about four months ago, he just stopped walking,” said Takhona. A couple months later, she took him to the city to a doctor. He was diagnosed with diabetes.

“My feet started to swell, and then I just could not walk anymore,” Thomas explained. “When I came today, I did not know I would get such a nice chair with wheels.”

A new FWM wheelchair is assembled and fitted just for Thomas at a Luke Commission rural outreach.

Now 75 years old, Thomas was a self-taught veterinarian when he worked as a younger man. He has one wife and one child, a son who is Takhona’s husband. The couple has six children, ages 5 to 17.

“Now I can sit up and move and talk with my grandchildren again. They still need Mkhulu (Grandfather) to teach them,” smiled Thomas. “I’m at a loss for words. Thank you.”

(Janet Tuinstra)