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Pictured above: A Cape Town family was involved in a serious car accident in Johannesburg 

On the 28th of December 2021, Gerhard van Niekerk (29), his fiancé Madelein van Zyl (27), and their two sons, Gregory (4) and Luke (8 weeks), were involved in a devastating car accident while on holiday in Johannesburg over the festive season.

Driving on the N12 at about 5:30 pm, the family was allegedly hit by another motorist on the rear left side of their Jeep Grand Cherokee. Moments later, Gerhard lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a hill. 


Pictured above: A devastating car crash has changed this family’s life forever


While Gerhard and Gregory suffered minor injuries from the crash, Madelein suffered multiple serious injuries, as most of the impact was on the passenger side, where she was sitting. 

Doctors initially reported injuries to Madelein’s leg, shoulder, nose, cheekbone, and ribs – after further scans and x-rays the doctors concluded that she had broken her elbow, ankle and her C2 and C3 neck vertebrae as well.


Pictured above: Madelein has suffered serious injuries


Tragically, baby Luke was declared brain dead and lost his life at 11pm that evening, leaving a sizable void in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.


Pictured above: 8 week old baby Luke was declared brain dead after the accident and later passed away


Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

As the family fights bravely through their hurt and heartache, Bianca Weygandt (31) a family friend, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy, to support the van Niekerk’s with their mounting medical bills, as they don’t have medical aid.

Since leaving ICU, Madelein’s elbow has been operated on, and a procedure on her ankle will be performed once her swelling has subsided, and she is stable enough to be transported back to Cape Town. 

As the injury to her neck is known as a ‘stable break’, fortunately, no operation is required. Her nose, cheekbone, and ribs will also heal with time, doctors say. 

Pictured above: Before the accident: Madelein, Gerhard and their son Gregory

Since the launch of the campaign, over R18 000 has been raised on BackaBuddy to support the family through this difficult time, with contributions from 40 donors both locally and abroad.

Additional funds raised will be used to cover the costs of Luke’s funeral, and the physical, emotional, and psychological treatment they will need to heal from their life-changing ordeal.

“We as a family would like to thank each and every person for their prayers, support, donations, and sharing our story! I would like to urge everyone, spend time with your loved ones, tell them you love them – time is precious – it cannot be replaced and memories are all we have in the end. I had a very special bond with my boy, Luke, in the short time God lent him to us, we loved him so much! We will miss him – every day. Also, drive safely and be alert on the roads – our life was changed in an instant” – says Gerhard.

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South Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy has supported more than 10 000+ individuals and charities in setting up fundraising campaigns for medical fees, tuition and various causes in South Africa. The platform has thus far risen over R290 Million.