Rika in hospital with meningitis

This is just a brief note to let you know that Rika Viljoen is in hospital with bacterial meningitis. (Updated Fri, 19 Sept 2014)

She is sedated and on a barrage of medication to beat this infection.

Rika and her husband Richard Kolbe met through adventure racing and they have long been part of our AR family.

They’ve been progressively getting back into racing after a bit of a hiatus during which time they increased our adventure racing numbers by producing two daughters. They’re sitting on the podium in the Kinetic Adventure series and were due to race in the Swazi Adventure this weekend.

Our thoughts are with Rika, Richard and their girls as they go through this difficult time of illness and uncertainty.

I’ll keep you updated as and when I hear news.


(Please note that your messages won’t appear immediately – I need to approve them to prevent spam messages coming through).

[Update: 15h00 on Fri, 19 September 2014]

There has been no improvement in Rika’s condition, which is very serious. This has been a very tough week for Richard, family and friends.


[Update: 16h45 on Thurs, 18 September 2014]

I just messaged Heidi to see whether she had any news. As of this morning there was no change as yet to Rika’s condition. This is good and bad news because although she’s not yet improving, she isn’t getting worse – and that’s a good thing.

I’ll let you know when I hear anything.


[Update: 14h30 on Wed, 17 September 2014]

I spoke briefly to Richard and he says that the good news is that Rika’s vitals are stable and that this just gives more time for the infection to be fought. She’s on antibiotics (infection) and cortisone (swelling and pressure).

He really appreciates the support from everyone.


[Update: 12h35 on Wed, 17 September 2014]

Heidi has been to visit Rika. Visits will now be limited to family only. Doctors have taken further blood samples for testing and Rika is scheduled to have another CT scan tomorrow. Where meningitis is concerned, there are two instances where CT scans (and MRI) are usually done.

The first is before lumbar punctures to rule out any other  possible causes for increased pressure on the brain.

The docs are probably doing the scan tomorrow for the second instance:  to identify and monitor possible complications as a result of meningitis.  They’ll be checking for fluid around the brain (typical in children), fluid trapped between the surface of the brain and the outer-most membrane (‘meninge’) that lies below the skull (and infection here), blood supply obstructions and infection in the brain ventricles (ventricals are ‘spaces’ in the brain that contain and circulate cerebrospinal fluid). CT and MRI scans are a means to ‘look inside’ to see what is happening and are probably done with regularity to assess the efficacy of treatment.

 [Update: 11h50 on Wed, 17 September 2014]

I’ve written a piece on what meningitis is – and specifically bacterial meningitis. This should answer the questions I’m receiving of how Rika got this illness.

[Update: 22h30 on Tues, 16 September 2014]

There’s been an improvement (reduction) in Rika’s intercranial pressure. The increased pressure results from the infection so pressure going down is what the aim of treatment is. The docs reduced her level of sedation today and Rika opened her eyes but as a result of the decreased sedation her heart rate goes sky high. So Rika is under full sedation as the docs wait for the antibiotics to kick in to reduce the pressure further before they lighten the sedation again.



  1. Hi Rika,

    Sending my prayers, high hopes and well wishes your way throughout this medical hurdle- you will conquer this just as you have done with every other conquests thus far- Your an inspiration and I wish you the best for a speedy recovery to get home and back on the bike.

    Best of luck to Rika, Richard and the girls- stay strong, your mummy is a hero!!

    Maja Ball from ’09

  2. Wishing you all strength and perseverance as you fight this Rika. You Richard and your girls are in out thoughts and prayers. GWS.

  3. Thinking of you. Wishing you a speedy and full recovery. I know you’re a fighter – so stay strong.

  4. I know the whole adventure racing community joins in wishing Rika a full recovery and a speedy return to form. Hang in there!

  5. Rika, wanneer ek aan jou dink sien ek ‘n blommietjie, fyn en met die mooiste blaartjies. Jy groei as ‘n veld blommietjie maar die amazingste is die soet reuk wat jy afgee, so sterk en mooi dat ander dit van myle kan ruik.

    So is jy. Jy raak so baie om jou aan al weet jy dit seker nie altyd nie.

    Rika, ons dink aan jou elke oomblik, bid vir jou dat Jesus jou heeltemal sal gesond maak en sommer gou ook.

    Richard, know that in Father’s arms, she is so loved and so safe. Thinking of you, your girls and all the family in this time.

    Baie liefde,
    Cindy & Cobus

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