Nothing small about Josh’s gesture

Shaanaaz de Jager

HE may be playing a cabin boy in a play about pirates, but in real life Josh van Wyk, 10, is a young philanthropist with a heart of gold.

He is trying to raise funds for two friends, siblings who are living with life-threatening illnesses.

Josh, who plays Jake the cabin boy in the Gilbert and Sullivan production The Pirates of Penzance, is having a fundraising gala at the Savoy Theatre in Perridgevale tomorrow for Megan Burley, 14, and her brother Daniel, 17.

Megan’s kidneys have failed and she has autism and epilepsy. Daniel has the kidney disorder Nephrotic Syndrome, and is physically disabled.

The venue takes 340 people but Van Wyk has sold only 53 for tomorrow’s performance.

“We need to sell more tickets. I really want to help them. It is not nice to see them like this. My teachers and principal have bought tickets,” Josh said.

The Westering Primary Grade 4 pupil lives by the motto “do good and good will come back to you”.

The Burley siblings were born with a genetic disorder called familial spastic paraplegia, which results in physical and mental disabilities.

Their mother, Barbie, is a donor match for a kidney transplant and has already lost 15kg but must lose a further 27kg. She said the money raised from the gala would be spent on renovating their bathroom. “It is difficult to get them into the bath so a shower will be better for them,” Burley said.

Josh’s mother, Margaret, described him as a “kindhearted, loving and well-mannered boy” who was “naturally dramatic”. The fundraising gala is being held at 7.30pm tomorrow. Tickets at R120 are available from Margaret van Wyk on 074-918-6105.

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