At just 17 years old, Kylie Rossouw from Kempton Park, Johannesburg, faced a formidable challenge that tested her strength and determination. Diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) at the age of 15, a complex and life-threatening condition affecting the blood vessels in her brain, Kylie embarked on a courageous journey to reclaim her life.


Pictured: The first weekend Kylie spent at home from the rehab with her three legged rescue dog Lola


Given the gravity of her situation, Kylie had to make a life-altering decision at a tender age – undergo a risky operation with a 4% chance of complications or live a life marked by constraints and uncertainties. Opting for the former, Kylie’s resolve was put to the ultimate test during the surgery on March 7, 2022, when unforeseen complications led to an intraoperative hemorrhage, putting her in a two-day medically induced coma.


Pictured above: Kylie before her operation


The harrowing experience left Kylie’s parents, Angelique and Tertius, grappling with a torrent of emotions. Angelique shares, “How do you stay positive when your heart is broken into a million pieces? These and a million other questions were racing through our minds.”

Upon awakening, Kylie confronted the stark reality of losing feeling and mobility on her left side, challenging not only her physical well-being but also the realization that her dream of becoming a neurosurgeon might be in jeopardy. 

Her mother reflects on the scariest moment, “It was the scariest moment of our lives, watching her get taken into theatre. When the doctors decided to wake Kylie and within an instant, our lives changed forever.”

Undeterred, Kylie’s resilience shone through as she embarked on an arduous road to recovery. Nearly three weeks in the hospital were followed by five weeks of intense therapy in a rehabilitation facility in Pretoria. Despite the setback, Kylie achieved a significant milestone, walking unassisted upon her discharge on April 29, 2022.


Pictured above: Kylie discharged from the rehab, showing her progress from being in a wheelchair to using a walking stick and walking on her own


Choosing to take a hiatus from school in 2022 to focus entirely on rehabilitation was a difficult decision for Kylie. However, her unwavering determination to excel academically persists. Despite challenges such as difficulty focusing and limited hand mobility, Kylie aims to pursue Neuropsychology after high school, adapting her aspirations to the new circumstances.

Kylie’s father expresses unwavering faith in her recovery, stating, “Nothing is impossible when she puts her mind to it. She will get better; she is my daughter. I will keep on pushing her to get better.”


Pictured: Kylie, her mom Angelique, father Tertius and brother Ryan


Yet, the journey is not without financial hurdles. Kylie’s family faces mounting medical expenses due to her medical aid provider’s reluctance to cover essential costs. To bridge this gap, the Rossouw family initiated a BackaBuddy crowdfunding campaign on April 19, 2022.

The campaign has thus far been instrumental in securing vital therapies, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, botox treatments, and essential medical expenses. Over R96,000 has been raised towards the R150,000 target, a testament to the generosity of family, friends, and a growing community of supporters.

Expressing gratitude, Kylie acknowledges, “Thank you to all the donors who donated to my BackaBuddy campaign. Your belief in me has given me renewed hope and motivation to keep pushing forward.”

Her parents emphasize that Kylie has always been exceptional, a few steps ahead of the average teen, taking responsibility seriously. They reflect, “Being a parent to Kylie is the greatest gift.”


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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 R420 Million.