Manuel Escórcio to sing for Leah Pop

Manuel: Photos: Facebook

“This speaks to my heart.” Photo: Facebook

A casual encounter years ago between Manuel Escórcio and a Melkbosstrander seems to have been indicative that they would meet again.

The golden-voiced tenor has agreed to sing in a benefit concert for Izak van der Walt’s granddaughter Leah Pop Botes (1 year) who suffers from the rare 1P36 Duplication Syndrome about which so little is known.

The pretty dark-haired girl looks like a doll on photos. But the photos don’t tell the whole story of Leah’s struggle to be born. She was born two months premature, and it was not thought that she would survive.

manuel-escorcio-poster-vir-benefit-konsertThe 4D scan had shown that the two lobes of her brain were disconnected.  She had no chin and her one hand was misformed and she was attached to two umbilical chords. But when little Leah was born she looked like a doll with a fully formed chin.

It was one of many miracles surrounding little Leah. Van der Walt, who is the parish clerk at the local NG Church, attributes it to the power of prayer. A whole group of people had prayed for Leah he explains: the church’s youth group, a WhatsApp group, and more. He also fasted for two days.

Little Leah Pop Botes. Photos: Provided

Little Leah Pop Botes. Photos: Provided

Leah Pop
“We call her Leah Pop,” he says with a loving smile. Sometimes they call her Princess Leah. He wonders out loud about the cause of her frequent bouts of pneumonia. She had bronchitis recently but now she is fine again and although she is going for an operation it will be for something entirely different: To open up her eyes that currently hang half-mast. More medical treatment will be necessary. Leah can’t sit up on her own and she is also unable to crawl or walk or speak. “But she laughs,” Van der Walt says. “Oh, and that is such a special laugh.”

Her laugh is special.

Leah’s special laugh.

Manuel’s benefit concert
Leah will need physiotherapy and occupational therapy and her father does not have medical aid. And this is where Manuel Escórcio comes into the picture.

The golden-voiced tenor has agreed to perform at a special rate for the little girl. He tells that “this is a worthy cause. I lost my son six years ago. It changes you. It softens you. This speaks to my heart and takes precedent. I want the people to support a good cause. I told the folks in Melkbos: ‘Just help me a bit so that I have my daily bread.’”

The Leah Pop Botes benefit concert will take place on 7 October. Venue: NG Church Hall, 11th Avenue, Melkbosstrand, Time: 7 pm,
Tickets R100 each.

Do you wish to assist with Leah Pop Botes’s medical costs? Her banking details are:
Capitec Bank
Savings account



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