Melissa Platt

Footprints 4 Sam

What does your company do?

Our mission at Footprints 4 Sam is focused on bringing dignity and connectedness to underprivileged children, and their families, facing chronic or life-limiting illnesses. We also strive to transform the lives of the healthcare professionals that serve them and the spaces in which they work in government hospitals. Our work is to keep hope alive when faced with what feels like relentless need and heartbreak for families dealing with the challenges of a very sick child. Our initiatives aim to shift the healthcare paradigm, emphasising human-centred care rather than merely diagnosis and treatment. Few charities address this sector in such a tangible, measurable and accountable manner across South Africa.

What is your biggest success?

My greatest achievement has been that I have been able to honour our son Sam, and ensure that his legacy continues to live on through the values of community, kindness, empathy, dignity, mutual respect, humanity and hope - without these in healthcare, true healing cannot exist. I am so proud of the incredible success we have achieved over the last six years, how we have impacted and improved the lives of children with chronic illnesses and restored dignity and hope to their families. The Trust has been able to leave an indelible footprint for change within paediatric healthcare. Our projects have included the completion of two registrar rooms at Rahima Moosa Mother & Child Hospital as well as the renovation of their Paediatric Outpatient Department. We uplifted the Kangaroo Mother Care Ward and the were involved in the renovation of a breastfeeding room, counselling and bereavement room.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

My biggest hurdle has been finding purpose in the midst of my grief and pain of losing my son. The loss of Sam upended our world. Grappling with grief,and struggling to find the will to live, we sought purpose and meaning in our suffering. The thought of starting a charity surfaced — why not? We had little idea of the dedication and effort it would need. Starting a charity is not for the faint-hearted, and ours would have been impossible without the incredible support of our trustees and donors. We could not have done this without them and we are so incredibly grateful.