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Liane HeymansWhile most South Africans kicked off the 2020 New Year with normal hopes, dreams and resolutions in mind, one 25-year-old woman was not so lucky. Liane Heymans, daughter of former Free State rugby star, Dougie Heymans, had to spend New Year’s Eve undergoing emergency surgery following a terrible accident in a swimming pool.

Liane was truly in the prime of her life, loving her work as a physio at a well-known practice in Bloemfontein and sharing her life with her dream partner. But everything changed on the 31st of December 2019, when she dived into a swimming pool while on holiday and broke her sixth neck vertebra.

Following surgery, Liane woke up to the devastating news that she was paralysed from the shoulders down. Doctors predicted that she would, at best, regain movement in her arms and that the chances of a complete recovery were slim.

Following three weeks in ICU and another two weeks in the high-care unit, Liane has begun her rehabilitation journey at the Life Pasteur Hospital. And only two months in, she has accomplished incredible things, proving the doctors wrong by regaining muscle movement in her arms, hands and stomach.

As a physio, Liane has a greater understanding of the rehabilitation process than most. With the help of the therapists and equipment at Pasteur, her strong will to recover grows every day. So, Liane’s resolution for 2020 is somewhat different. She has resolved to recover in full and regain the use of all her limbs. But unfortunately, there is one obstacle in her way.

Liane’s medical aid only covers the two months she has already spent at the Life Pasteur Hospital. But therapists have advised that the rehabilitation process will take at least 6 months – a cost that Liane will have to cover on her own. And the mammoth expense of continuing her rehabilitation journey is extremely prohibitive.

To give Liane the best possible chance of reclaiming her life, the Heymans family has opened a trust account and are requesting donations to enable Liane to continue with her rehabilitation, as every day of rehabilitation brings her one step closer to regaining movement and achieving her dream.

With that in mind, the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) is calling on Dougie Heymans’ former teammates, rugby supporters and friends to help by contributing to the fund.

SARLA CEO, Stefan Terblanche, said, “Let’s help our friend and teammate’s family by working as hard off the field as we once did on the field. Our support will help this young lady keep her dream alive, and possibly walk again. These are challenging times for many people. But for the Heymans family, there are even more hurdles to overcome. It’s up to us to ease the burden by giving Liane the best possible chance of recovery.”

If you are able to open your heart and your wallet to help, please contact Dougie on 082 825 1376 or Leon on 066 230 0093 for details on how to deposit your donation into the trust’s bank account.

Proof of contributions or any questions can also be sent to the Liane Heymans Trust at or Willie Meyer at