Open Letter to Prof Noakes by Nico Kleynhans

Sometimes in life we take things for granted. The day-to-day tasks that we give very little thought to. It’s people like Nico that remind us not to take the simple things for granted, because although they may seem simple to us, to others, it is a very different story.

When we are faced with immense hills to climb and come out stronger on the other side, it’s time to sit back and look at all that we have accomplished.

Nico has done that in this open letter to Prof Noakes.

Thank you Nico, for inspiring so many others to start climbing their own mountains.


My Dear Prof Noakes,

Although we have met fleetingly on several occasions, I have never been able to speak from my heart. Here is a very public acknowledgement of what your vision means to me.

Banting has saved my life.

I can drive a car again. My sleep apnoea was so bad that I had to stop driving.

My breathing apparatus lies unused. I no longer wake up at night choking and struggling to get my breathing started again.

I am able to enjoy a bath again. I got stuck and it was frightening to realize that I did not have the strength to get out and others were not strong enough to lift me out.

I can walk to the jet. I do not need to be carried to it. I am grateful that I no longer need a wheelchair to get in and out of an aircraft.

I enjoy being able to get into and out of a bed. Before I had to roll over and then jump out. I could not sit up in bed. I was too heavy.

I once weighed 164 kg . Kids no longer ask their mommies if I am going to have a baby.

I no longer need a trolley to lean on at the supermarket. It seemed silly to use a trolley to buy one item.

I do not have to rest every five minutes. I can handle up to 12 km of walking in a day.

I still don’t like looking at myself in a mirror, but that will change. Eventually I will realize that mirrors are there to remind me to comb my hair.

Having my photograph taken is still a pain, but fellow banters and their mobiles are helping.

We learn to hate ourselves. It’s tough to learn to love ourselves again.

I am happier. My energy levels have increased. Life has become fun again.

You are like the dream uncle every family needs.

Your vision and determination enables us to claim back our lives.

Thank You.

Nico Kleynhans