Port Elizabeth resident Charmaine Keevy was out for a walk with her wiener dog Georgie one morning when he started to behave strangely. Luckily, his behavior led to the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby and ended up saving a life—a miracle when considering where she was found!
That morning, Georgie led Keevy over to a storm drain, barking incessantly—and when Keevy got close enough to investigate, she realized that something was very wrong. What sounded at first like a cat meowing down below grew clearer as she got closer, and eventually she realized that it sounded like a human baby.
Frantic, Keevy tried to flag down a motorist on the nearby road, eventually stopping a 60-year-old named Cornie Viljoen. The pair ultimately agreed that what they were hearing was indeed an infant, so they grabbed a metal bar from the back of Viljoen’s truck and went to work removing the storm drain.
When Viljoen was able to drop down into the sewer below, the pair found a heartbreaking scene. A newborn girl was lying just feet from a pile of red ants, umbilical cord still attached and crying her eyes out.
Keevy called for emergency responders while Viljoen handed the infant up out of the drain, quickly wrapping her in a jacket while they waited for paramedics to arrive. And although the young baby needed medical care and respiratory treatment upon reaching the hospital, Keevy later reported that the baby, named Grace April by the hospital staff, was doing well.
SHE IS ALIVE!!!!! If you are reading this please share on your time line. I have been so saddened by the negative talk…
Social media quickly responded with horror that someone could have left a baby in that kind of situation, but Keevy insisted on looking forward—thanking God for enabling her to rescue the baby and pushing for change to make it easier for desperate new mothers unequipped to care for their infants to find safe haven alternatives.
“I honestly believe I was meant to find that baby by God as I usually take a different route on my dog walk but for some reason went another way. I cannot help but feel that there is some sort of a plan and a purpose for that little girls’ [sic] life—it is a miracle without a doubt,” said Keevy.
“We can’t just assume the mother didn’t want the baby and it must have been hard for her to leave the baby there but I am very happy to have found her and am delighted she is alive and improving.”
Thank God she's is getting better and stronger all the time. Somos nuestros hermanos y hermanas encargados.Gracias a todos los buenos deseos
In the aftermath, Keevy has become a champion of what are known as “baby boxes,” which provide a safe and anonymous way for mothers to give up their newborns at discreet locations. These boxes trigger a silent alarm inside special buildings when they are opened, providing a shelter for the infant to be placed in without judgment or criminal prosecution. She reported in December 2018, a handful of months after finding Grace April, that a group of five financial backers had come together to fund these “baby safes” being constructed and placed around Port Elizabeth.
Hopefully, these boxes will help another infant avoid the harrowing experience that baby Grace April went through before she was found. But thanks to Keevy and Viljoen, her life has the potential to be lived with joy and hope anyway.