Seven-year-old Stefan Greef’s wish has always been to explore the Cradle of Humankind and live his dream of one day becoming a palaeoanthropologist, crawling through caves and discovering fossils.
Maropeng, together with the Reach for a Dream Foundation, an NPO that works with sponsors to help fulfil the dreams of children fighting life-threatening illnesses, worked together to help make Stefan’s wish come true.
Stefan is a small boy with big dreams. He was diagnosed with Fanconi anaemia, a relatively rare genetic disease, but it hasn’t stopped him from living his life the way a seven-year-old should.
“I am personally honoured to be part of such an amazing organisation. We have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children who are living with serious life-threatening illnesses, and all we want to do is to inspire hope and let them know that there is a reason to keep fighting,” says Dreams co-ordinator Nompumelelo Mlambo.
On Friday 28 March, 2014, staff at Maropeng welcomed the Greef family for a fun-filled day of discovery.
It started with gifts and goodies, including tickets to visit the Maropeng exhibition and the Sterkfontein Caves.
The Greef family was then taken to meet awarding-winning author, researcher and palaeoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger, and Dr Bonita de Klerk at the Institute for Human Evolution at Wits University.
Stefan got a chance to crawl through caves and glimpse fossil excavation sites that he dreams of one day working on as a palaeoanthropologist.
The family was taken on an amazing tour of Malapa and the Rising Star Cave, a new fossil site where more than 1 200 early hominid fossil elements were unearthed in November 2013.
Mlambo adds: “The best part is seeing a child who has been down for months, smile for the first time because someone was concerned enough to know what their dream is and took the time to fulfil it. And of course without our donors and sponsors, like the Cradle of Humankind team, we would not be able to make these dreams a reality.”
The day ended off on a more relaxed note, with lunch at the Tumulus Restaurant.
“It was an honour for everyone at Maropeng to be part of such a special day,” says Lindsay Marshall, Maropeng’s marketing and communications manager.