Martin Pistorius was a man trapped in his own body for 10 years. People around him thought that he was brain dead, not being able to understand the world around him. But they were wrong! Watch the story of the “Ghost Boy” and hear the message that he wants to share the world.
Martin grew up in South Africa. He was a typical 12-year-old boy not until one day when he went home sick from school. As the days gone by, he was getting worse. His body starts to weaken, he couldn’t control his muscles, and worst he stops communicating with the world around him. It seems like Martin just shut down to the world!
The doctors diagnosed him with neurodegenerative disease and believed that he was unaware of the world around him. People thought that Martin was detached from the world, not being able to understand the things around him. But they were wrong! Martin is fully aware and he understands everything, he just couldn’t express himself.
For 10 years, Martin was essentially trapped in his own body, and became known as the “Ghost Boy”.He grew up with everyone around him assuming that he was brain dead. People would share his private secrets thinking that he wouldn’t understand. One day his mother even told him words that pierced through his heart, “I hope you die”. He even suffered abuse both verbal, physical and even sexual in care centers because nobody knew that he was cognitively aware of everything that’s going on around him. He lived in the torture of not being able to express himself. He started to lose hope that people will ever notice that he was there, trapped inside his own body.
Not until one day. A physical therapist named Virna Van Der Walt met Martin, and she saw that “glimmer in his eyes”. That physical therapist has looked through the windows of his soul and she was certain that someone was in there.
It was revealed in tests that Martin could communicate and that sparked the hopes in his heart. As his mind got stronger, so was his body. With “blood, sweat, and tears,” he worked hard to recover. And miraculously, he did and was able to learn how to drive and how to talk using a computer-aided device. He even went to college! Best of all, he found the love of his life, Joana.
Martin went through a hard time for 10 years of being the ‘Ghost Boy’ but today, he was grateful more than ever of how his life came to be. He was hurt by the things that had happened to him in the past, especially the words that he heard from his Mom. Those words surely cut deep, but he knew for a fact that she said that out of frustration.
Martin said, “While I was very sad and upset by what she said, I understood where that was coming from. My mother often felt that she wasn’t a good mom, and one of the hardest things for me was I couldn’t tell her that ‘no you are doing great.’ She is a good mother.”
Today, Martin lives with this powerful message that the world needs to hear: “Treat everyone with kindness, dignity, compassion, and respect whether you think they understand or not, to never underestimate the power of the mind, the importance of love and faith, and to never stop dreaming.”