Pieter is doing well and is positive. He enjoyed Kai’s visit today and was able to say happy half birthday to his son. He was able to do this because they temporarily deflate the trache’s balloon which then allows him to speak. His lungs are clear and weaning continues.

The Road to Recovery

Update – 8 November 2017

After 53 days in hospital, Pieter has finally been extubated. No more ventilator and he can speak. This is a big day and we are extremely happy. Pieter has also regained some touch sensation on is right leg and both feet. This is in addition to the deep pressure sensation in his stomach and temperature sensation everywhere. The doctors at UCT will continue to monitor his lungs but we expect to be transferred to Vincent Palotti for further rehabilitation soon.
25 October 2017 Pieter excelled today with his saturation continuing at 100%. Speech therapist was there this afternoon and she is very happy with his swallowing. He will get some cheesecake to eat tomorrow (even though he would prefer a piece of steak 🙈) Otherwise his chest is clean and coping well with breathing on his own. He has also started getting some sensation in his left palm. This is good progress. Today was a good day. 24 October 2017 Pieter is doing well after a lung complication over the weekend. He is still struggling with secretions. The weaning process is frustratingly slow but atleast we are progressing. On a positive note, Pieter has started to feel deep pressure sensations on his toes, meaning he can feel when you touch his toes. He also feels pressure inside his gut when pressed, cold and warm down his back and feet. These sensations are all a result of nerve regeneration. We cannot yet know how much feeling he will recover. I’ve also painted Pieter’s toe nails today. I saw somewhere that the colours assists the brain to distinguish between the toes when he concentrates on moving different toes. We are willing to try anything 🙂
20 October 2017  Pieter is doing well and is positive. He enjoyed Kai’s visit today and was able to say happy half birthday to his son. He was able to do this because they temporarily deflate the trache’s balloon which then allows him to speak. His lungs are clear and weaning continues.
18 October 2017
Over the past 4 weeks, as Pieter’s intensive care physiotherapist, I have been able to get to know Pieter particularly well. On average spending 1-2 hours a day with Pieter. I have been able to admire the immense strength and determination he possesses. I am also witness to his unremitting and eternal love for his wife and son, Vernene and Kai. My journey with Pieter started out with an evening call from the ICU requesting aggressive chest physio to assist with lung complications following his injury. At this point Pieter was sedated and unaware of his surroundings. As days passed, Pieter’s breathing improved and I could tell that he was going to be that “fighter”. A flame inside me ignited as I knew that I was going to be part of this journey. This journey is one filled with many ups and downs, sad and happy days, excited and disappointing ones, days filled with tears and laughter, jokes and serious talks discussing what the future may hold. This journey has not been easy for Pieter and Vernene and the journey ahead will be a long and hard one. I however truly believe that Pieter is strong enough to overcome this, whatever the future may hold. Pieter has immensely inspired me with his courage, determination and bravery. Fighting everyday for the freedom to breath again, he has made remarkable progress daily although some days have presented us with some challenges. Every day Pieter shows his fearless nature and pushes himself to the highest limits to achieve the best he can. For the next few weeks we will be strengthening his lungs and arms so that he can get stronger every day. Our ultimate goal is to get Pieter to breath independently without any machines assisting him. “With faith comes hope” Together with Pieter and Vernene we will overcome every challenge that comes our way so that Pieter can hold his beautiful son in his arms again. MARCHELLE LAKE Jacques Erasmus Physiotherapists


In the blink of an eye the lives of our best friends, Vernene and Pieter van Greunen changed completely on 17 September 2017 when Pieter suffered a freak pool diving accident which caused the dislocation of the C4 and C5 vertebrae and left him with massive spinal cord – and high – cervical nerve damage. Pieter underwent surgery to secure the injured neck vertebrae, but had initially suffered serious lung complications and still remains in ICU. While he is showing a great amount of improvement – through his immense strength and determination to recover – and has regained movement in his arms and some sensation in his hands, he has still not regained any feeling below his waist and is currently breathing with the help of a trach and ventilator. Because both Vernene and Pieter have a beautiful network of friends and family who have constantly been in touch in terms of how they can help outside of prayers, hospital visits, goodie bags and messages, we thought to set up this platform for people to do just that. The past year has been an incredibly tough one for Pieter and Vernene. Pieter, a kind, young father and hardworking entrepreneur, working mainly with his hands, had just started getting his fledgling construction and carpentry business off the ground, while Vernene lost her job shortly after finding out she was pregnant with their beautiful baby boy Kai who they welcomed in April of this year. The road to Pieter’s recovery is going to be tough, long and costly. At present, while we are all extremely hopeful, none of us know for certain whether he will ever be able to walk, let alone work again to be able support his young family as before. They have incredible friends and family who have been able to support them emotionally and help look after Kai while Vernene spends long, difficult days at the hospital waiting for updates and good news. Should you want to assist financially, with whatever you are able to give, this would not only support Pieter in his recovery, but also help relieve the financial burden he, Vernene and baby Kai now face. If you have any questions in terms of making a donation, or with regards to Pieter’s condition, please feel free to email us at Thank you so much for your amazing support of our beautiful friends! Xx