During the first 3 week hard lockdown, Stan hosted several online talks on Facebook. I would make sure that I logged in before 13h00, to listen to the several topics that he discussed during his talks. On Day 12 of Lockdown, Stan talked about Covid-19 and how we all deal differently with the lockdown.
“What we are going through is common to everybody across the world. We are all in this together. Contracting the COVID-19 can happen to anybody, including you, including me……”
Today I am saddened by how these words of his talk on 7 April 2020 became true, saddened by the fact that this virus took Stan away from us.
Stan had his heart transplant on 13 February 2007. He participated in his first National Games in 2008 and was chosen for the South African Team to participate at the World Transplant Games in Australia in 2009. Subsequently, he participated in six World Transplant Games and won several medals in Petanque and Track & Field events. A memorable moment for me was when he won the Gold Medal in the 200m sprint in Newcastle UK, beating his strongest opponent for the first time since they started competing against each other. This after he injured his calf during the long jump the day before. He was a true example of how to use your second chance at life to the fullest.
Stan was a family man, a husband, a father, a friend, and a mentor to many. Whenever you would have a conversation with Stan, whether in a group or one-on-one, he would listen with attention. He was always ready with advice or to help where possible. He never made anyone feel left out and was an advocate for justice and inclusiveness. Stan made a huge impact in the transplant community, both nationally and internationally.
We at Western Cape Transplant Sports Association mourn the loss of a true leader, fellow transplant athlete and friend. Our sincere condolence to Stan’s family and friends. Stan Henkeman your legacy will live on!
“Bad things will happen and good things too. Your life will be full of surprises. Miracles happen only where there has been suffering. So, taste your grief to the fullest. Don’t try and press it down. Don’t hide from it. Don’t escape. It is life too. It is truth. But it will pass, and time will put a strange honey in the bitterness. That’s the way life goes.” – Ben Okri
Rentia le Roux