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Robert & Claire Peter Foundation Charity Profile
The harmony of a normal family life started by Martin & Audrey Peter was disrupted in a way that would change their lives as well as those of their two children forever.
In August 1989, their only son, Robert at age 3, was suddenly struck by uncontrollable seizures. These intense seizures continued for one week and were followed by a three-week period spent in a coma. Despite the valiant efforts by the doctors involved, this episode remained as a mystery.
He emerged from this ordeal with severe brain damage, which was aggravated by a sudden loss of ability to walk and talk.
A year later, the second child, Claire at age 2, was struck by this same condition. Despite the similar nature (the seizures, the coma, the sudden loss of physical functions, etc) their conditions remained undiagnosed.
Thus began their quest to seek out a cure. Their initial journey took them to numerous hospitals in South Africa. It was during this quest that they have identified, on a first-hand basis, the lack of facilities and the ever-growing needs amongst the disabled.
Faced with the reality of receiving sub-standard care for the children, in May 1991 the family made a heart rendering decision of a “Journey of Hope” to both the Kennedy Krieger Institute and John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA. The next few years was spent in intensive research, investigative treatment plans and valuable care by some of the finest physicians in the world. It exposed the parents to a host of successes and new experiences.
The sudden death of Robert in October 1999 initially shook their many dreams and hopes. In order to survive this tragic change in event, the family focused their attention on Robert’s surviving sister, Claire.
Surrounded by an abundance of adaptive equipment in their home, and with full knowledge of an even greater abundance of disused equipment in the USA, reminded them of the plight of other disabled children in South Africa. Their collection efforts combined with the focused attention to Claire helped the family deal with their grief.
This tragic and yet invaluable lesson in life taught them to look beyond their own needs.
The broadened scope of their vision has now given birth to this foundation.