Parents plead for help to assist child who has had about 60 operations

Aiden da Silva (6) requires surgery in Switzerland to have any chance at a normal childhood.

If you have children, nieces or nephews, you would know one of the most memorable moments you have is when they say their first word or eat their first solid meal on their own.


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For the parents of Airfield resident Aiden da Silva (6), this was an experience they could not fully embrace.

“Aiden went for his first operation for grommets at three months old,” said Jade, his mother.

“He has a prosthetic airway which in turn gives him swallowing complications.

“We take a pipe daily in and out of his throat because he cannot breathe properly on his own.”

Jade says Aiden has difficulty in speaking so it makes it hard for people to understand what he says.

He is also fed through a peg (feeding tube) due to his epiglottis being lame.

Aiden da Silva (6) after one of the operations he underwent.

The function is to seal off the windpipe during eating to avoid the food being inhaled.

But there is hope for the youngster who has seen the inside of a hospital for about 60 operations.

“Aiden needs to undergo three surgical procedures in Switzerland to help him have a normal childhood,” Jade said.

Jade and Mario (Aiden’s father) visited doctors in Johannesburg and Cape Town, but it was established that no doctor in South Africa has done a surgery to Aiden’s complexity.

A medical report was sent to the da Silva family after doctors from Switzerland watched videos of Aiden’s scope and the report said he had a severe degree of supraglottic stenosis (this is part of the airway that is above the vocal cords) and a moderate degree of laryngeal stenosis.

However, this surgery requires surgeons and finances that the da Silva family do not have.

“We are required to provide a deposit guarantee of approximately R521 110,” Jade said.

“We have compiled a budget including travelling costs, food, accommodation, day-to-day expenses, and an allowance for unexpected medical treatment, which has equated to approximately R1-million including the deposit guarantee.

Aiden is a middle child to his older sister, Olivia (9) and younger sister Hannah-Rose (2), therefore if the family can finance the operations, all four family members (Jade, Mario, Olivia and Hannah-Rose) will accompany Aiden.

Aiden also has hemiplegia on the left side of his body, which resulted from a stroke.

“Aiden needs to go to Switzerland to see a specialised airway ENT surgeon, who can help open up [his] airway, which will help him breathe on his own and have a better voice,” Jade explained.

“Doctors have suggested that the best time for these procedures to be done is before Aiden turns eight years old and he will be turning seven in August this year.”

This leaves the da Silva family with a few weeks to attain the required finances because the Center Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland, can accommodate Aiden on May 6 for two weeks and approximately another two weeks for recovery.

The three procedures are laser surgery to safeguard maximum of the vital vocal cords and other airway structures, endoscopic surgery to open the supraglottis and an additional open surgery to widen the airway.

“Please help us get Aiden to Switzerland to obtain his life-changing operations,” Jade said.

For more information, Jade can be contacted on 079 878 1560.

The family also has a site for Aiden at

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Sheina Razack

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