Willie loving life with the Avery Pacemaker

In November 1993, Willie was paralyzed after diving into the pool at his high school. Thanks to his quick-thinking friends, he was airlifted to Johannesburg General Hospital in South Africa.

In July 1994, Willie was implanted with the Avery Diaphragm Pacemaker. Willie first heard of the Avery pacer when his General Practitioner told him and his family about it, and contacted Dr. Martin Bruwer in Pretoria, who had previously performed the surgical procedure.

Willie began pacing on his birthday. Willie said, “It was a very expensive and life-giving birthday present. It was a very emotional experience for everybody. The first 5 minutes it was switched on, was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I was completely exhausted and thought that I wouldn’t be able to be weaned from the ventilator.”  The following day Willie started a routine of pacing for 5 minutes on every hour, then resting for the remaining hour. He did this each day extending the time by 5 minutes.

After a week, Willie became comfortable with the routine and even convinced his nurses to extend the prescribed schedule. Soon thereafter, Willie was completely weaned from the ventilator.

“Looking back on my life so far, it is very difficult not to experience some sense of spirituality. I wish I could describe myself as an awesome spiritual person, but I am only a person that does not deserve all the blessings, miracles and support from family, friends and strangers, that the Lord bestowed on me. As someone once said, ‘everything I have is only lend to me and everything I am is only through grace.’ Thank you for allowing me to share part of my story with you. All my best wishes for you and Avery. May you keep on changing lives!”



Source: ABD-PP-028, Rev B 12/2020

To learn more about the benefits of the Avery pacers for those with a high spinal cord injury, central sleep apnea or diaphragm paralysis, please contact us by mail, phone or through our website.
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