Hats off to a very special mum

This Mothers’ Day, the Vryheid Herald team pays tribute to Cindy, and all the mums like her who have the patience, kindness, perseverance, tolerance, understanding, compassion and humility to love and care for a child with special needs.

ARE you fascinated by the things mums carry in their handbags?

They always seem to be prepared for any situation, don’t they?


Mums tend fill their handbags with things that ensure they prepared for any situation.


Whether you need a tissue to blow your nose, or change to pay the car guard, whether you need to moisturise your lips or you need a little sugary treat, chances are that mum will come to the rescue.

If you took a peek into Cindy Mossop’s bag, you may be a little confused at first, and perhaps a little amused, as you contemplate why this mum would need certain items.

In it, you will find a stick blender, facecloths, adult nappies, wipes, a very special cup (it is the only one her son will drink from) and an Energade bottle or two, among other things.

One of the things Cindy Mossop carries in her bag, is a stick blender. Her son has cerebral palsy and his food needs to be blended before he can eat it safely.

It is just one simple example of how this devoted mum has adapted her entire life to cater to the needs of her son, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

This Mothers’ Day, the Vryheid Herald team paid tribute to Cindy, and all the mums like her, who have the patience, kindness, perseverance, tolerance, understanding, compassion and humility to love and care for a child with special needs.


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Juan-Pierre (JP), Cindy’s eldest son, was born a twin 20 years ago at the Vryheid Hospital. His twin brother, Juan-André, passed away from lung failure just four days after being born. Cindy, who was young and unprepared for motherhood, remembers with sadness, cradling Juan-André’s tiny body (he weighed 1.1kg at birth) after having been told by doctors that he was “not going to make it.” He was so tiny that Cindy would cut a towelling nappy into 6 pieces before it could fit him.

Cindy spent three months with JP at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, until he was strong enough to go home.

“After JP turned one, I became concerned that he wasn’t reaching his developmental milestones. He couldn’t even sit up, so we took him to a specialist to have him tested and the doctor confirmed that he had cerebral palsy. We had never heard of cerebral palsy before, but, when we returned to Vryheid, Dr Alston explained what it was and gave us advice on how to cope,” said Cindy.

“We built some equipment to help him sit up and took him for regular physio. We transported him in a pram until he was 8 years old and then Huisgenoot donated a wheelchair to us. My family has been very supportive and the community has been amazing. We still, sometimes, find money in JP’s hands after an outing, and people often stop us in town to pray for JP.”

Cindy is a stay-at-home mum as JP requires around-the-clock care. However, she has not completely abandoned her dreams of pursuing a career in catering, and runs a small baking and catering business from home.

“In this way, I am able to contribute toward JP’s physiotherapy costs,” said Cindy.

Setting an example for her sons, Cindy is also committed to making a difference in the community as a member of Vryheid’s Lions Club and is instrumental in organising the town’s biggest annual charity fundraiser, the Mayfair.

Lions Mayfair raises R200K+ for charity

“I told the Lions right at the beginning that, if I had to become a member, then JP is going to have to accompany me. People often ask me how I manage to be a part of the Mayfair organising committee with a special needs son, but JP loves the Mayfair. He can’t go on any of the rides but he loves to watch and smiles so much his face must get sore by the end of the day.”

Her younger son, Jason, is now 13-year-old and as Cindy puts it, “would walk on hot coals,” for JP.

JP and Jason are Cindy’s pride and joy.

“Jason is very protective over his brother, and doesn’t like it when people stare at him. He is always offering to give JP something to eat and drink and the two of them have some big conversations,” laughs Cindy.

The most recent conversation Cindy overheard, was one in which Jason and JP were discussing how to spoil mum on Mothers’ Day. It seems that Cindy’s husband, Peter, has already been tasked with buying the gift.

“Presents are always nice, but the most special thing I get from my boys is when they wish me happy Mothers’ Day and tell me they love me. My children are my pride and joy,” she concluded.

Estella Naicker

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