Thank You Letters

To our dear Stepping Stone family,

To our dear Stepping Stone family,

Firstly I want to apologize, as English is my second language and my pronunciation might not be correct but that is not what this is about – it is about a young mother saying goodbye to her children, grandchildren, friends and family… Oh, and food (you will understand this as I move on)…

Our dearest mom was always in love with eating – anything sweet, savory etc, and Mom would be happy. I will never forget having tea with Mom and having some of the cake she bought or food she cooked. Today I miss those more than ever!

During Mom’s 6-month battle against a very advanced (and for lack of a better word – UGLY) lung cancer, she lost some of her appetite (due to medications, etc). When she ate well it felt like a feast and we all celebrated together.

Other times it was not that good, but that is to be expected with cancer.

During Mom’s last stay in hospice, she just wanted junk food, especially McDonald’s. This made Mom’s day – actually her last 4 days.

Miracles do not always come in big packages wrapped in bows or a last wish to travel somewhere (please do not get me wrong, as this is just as wonderful). Our mother’s last wishes came in the form of McDonald’s burgers, family gathering at hospice, reading the bible together, having a cup of tea, rubbing her back when she was out of breath, saying our goodbyes and honouring her wishes of letting her go with dignity.

This was the biggest gift to our mom – never once did the medical staff, caregivers etc complain and as mom got weaker they even brought her a portable toilet, as she felt very strong about losing any dignity.

Thank you hospice for allowing her children and family to be with her. Thank you for lighting a candle for her when she passed and entered the next stage of her eternal life. Thank you for making a difference!

Please support this organization. They do incredible work. We love you!

Chantel Pienaar

Caption: Dedicated to our beautiful mother who was taken from us much too soon. May you find peace and rest with the family. One day we will be together again. 
Rest in Peace – Ouma Hankie (14-02-2016)

Willem Johannes Pretorius

Geagte Personeel,

Graag wil ons, die familie van Willem Pretorius vir u uit die diepste punt van ons harte dankie se vir alles wat jul vir hom gedoen het gedurende sy tyd daar. Dankie dat jul almal jul harte oopgemaak het vir ons Eggenoot, Vader, Oupa, Broer en Vriend. Dankie dat jul sy laaste tydjie so gerieflik as moontlik gemaak het. Hy was omring deur dierbare goeie mense wat soveel omgegee het vir hul patiente en met repsek en liefde hanteer en help…

Dankie dat jul dit so gerieflik gemaak het vir ons moeder om die laaste tyd saam ons Vader te kon spandeer en dat jul daar was vir haar in die tyd van nood..Dankie vir jul vriendelikheid, behulpsaamheid, glimlaggies en al jul liefde en omgee.Dankie dat jul gedurende die afsterwe van Willem ons omsingel het met soveel meegevoel en liefde …

Woorde kan nie genoeg ons dankbaarheid beskryf nie…

God seen elkeen van jul.

Al ons liefde

Monique, Gordon, Nathan, Kaylee, Lizette, Jaco, Xandre, Charlton, Chante, Deon, Wendy, Christan, Diaan, Rico, Sane, Riaan, Leoni, Jaun, Piet en die res van die Pretorius familie.

Die Here het die krag van ‘n berg geneem
Die majesteit van ‘n boom
Die warmte van ‘n somer reen
Die kalmte van ‘n stil see
Die vrywige siel van die natuur
Die vertroostende arms van die nag
Die wysheid van eeue
Die krag van ‘n arend se vlug
Die vreugde van ‘n lente oggend
Die geloof van ‘n mosterdsaadjie
Die geduld van Job
Die diepte wat ‘n familie nodig het…
en toe het die Here al hierdie kwaliteite bymekaar gevoeg
Daar was niks meer om by te voeg nie want sy meesterstuk was voltooi
en Hy het dit ” Eggenoot, Vader, Oupa, Broer en Vriend” genome

Thank you!!!

HI Sister Sheryl and All At Stepping Stone

I am not actually quite sure how to thank you for everything you all did for me and my family in the short time that we knew you all while my mom was there, we will carry you all close to our hearts forever!

From the moment that we went to see you, you were all honest with us and told us how everything would work, you all gave us love and support when we were all uncertain, sad and scared. I thank you all from deep in side me for everything you did for my mom whilst she was there, the love and kindness that you showed her, making her comfortable and taking away the pain, thank you for guiding us in the process of her passing, thank you for being there for us when the pain seemed unbearable. There are days that I miss her really really badly, but I have deep down made peace that she is not suffering in anymore.

It was really hard coming home, especially for my dad, the pain he feels is so deep and I do not know how to help ease that pain, but slowly we will heal, slowly the memories of my moms passing will ease and be replaced with all the memories of the amazing person that my mom was.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to you all for everything you did and for us and for everything you have become in our lives. May GOD richly bless you all for the amazing work you do.

Much love, Tanya, Graham, Edward, Ken Evans and families xxx

Brian Richards

Dear Tersia

Our world is now starting to get back to some form of normality and whilst we all have our very sad days and miss Brian tremendously we have all started moving forward and tackling every day one day at a time.

November to February went by as a whirlwind as we tried to understand why Brian was so ill and then, once we found out that he had cancer, how best to support him and his brave decisions over the remaining four weeks we were privileged to spend with him. We were blessed to have a son who embraced this terrible illness and bravely faced his last few weeks in a positive way and making sure that his bucket list was ticked off and that his family was OK.

As you are aware we were totally lost until Sheryl arrived at his Mom’s house and that same afternoon he was booked into Hospice and within four hours he had no more back pain. This meant so much to him and we will never understand why the Doctors and Specialists could not have offered the same relief as Hospice did.

After spending so much time in Hospitals we were flabbergasted in the way the extended family and Brian was treated with so much care, concern and empathy and your entire team always made us feel welcome no matter what time of day or night. Although being gravely ill Brian’s quality of life changed from the first day he met the Hospice team and he was able to draw up his bucket list and tick them off. The Hospice Lapa was indeed his favourite place and he spent many hours out there with his friends and family.

Brian formed a special bond with Sheryl and her chats and advice and open questions really allowed Brian to come to peace with the fact that he had a very limited amount of time with us. The Bush weekend allowed us all to be together and the chats the family had with Sheryl helped us through this very difficult time.

The Lego shopping excursion allowed Brian to tick another item off his list which meant so much to him. We were then able to get him home and with Engela’s expertise and care he spent the remaining days at home where he really wanted to be. Our family would just like to express our appreciation for everything you and your staff did for Brian and our extended family. The staff showed a real care for Brian and went out of their way to help him no matter what the request was.

Thank you Tersia, Sheryl and Engela for being so special and taking care of Brian in such a wonderful way. You all really made a difference in Brian’s life and we are forever grateful to you.

Kind Regards
Tony, Sonia and Kiara Richards

* PS. We have today deposited an amount of R5000 as a donation which I am sure that you will put to good use.

M A. Chandler

Many thanks for your letter of condolences. However, we are unable to fill in this request forms as Hospice East Rand were unable to help us in our time of need.

God had others plans for my mom and we took time to take note of this and followed where he took us.

My mom passed away at Stepping stone in Alberton. It was the incredible staff there at Stepping Stone that took care of my mom and we are very grateful to them for everything they did. Their staff were incredible and the support structure there was amazing.

CEO Tersia Burger, Sr Sheryl Newman and Sr Engela Rademeyer and all their staff do an amazing job of ensuring everyone concerned is alright right down to the goodbyes. We felt so at home and supported every day. I and truly grateful and will be for the rest of my life for their help. They were simple outstanding!

You know, as my Dad and I grief my mom’s passing….it’s is said you never know what it feels like till you get there in the final moments of saying your goodbyes.

Well, Stepping Stone was the place that did it for us and one of a few final moments of my mom’s talking she said to me.

“You could not have chosen a better place for the ending”…. Those words still bring tears to my eyes….. 5 Days later she passed away.

And indeed we were sent there and in her best interest of her passing way with those wonderful surroundings , we could not have chosen a better place.

I also believe that exposure for Hospice is important and the organisation will have my support and I plan to write a blog on the experience to helps others on the journey through the final days of their life.

Thank you once again for your condolences.
Many blessings in your future endeavors for Hospice East Rand.

Kind regards, Susan Parker Daughter of the deceased Margaret Ann Chandler

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Good day to all the staff, caregivers at Hospice Stepping Stone

On behalf of my dad, myself Barbara and my Family, I would just like to thank everyone at Stepping Stone for everything you all did for my dad.

Words cannot explain how I feel, with the care that my dad received. I knew he was very happy to stay as when I took him out he was very eager to get back and when I asked him if he wanted to go home for the weekend, he opted to stay in the care of all the caregivers, Sister’s etc.

I realised that when my dad was admitted to Hospice, before that I was running round in circles? I am just so great full for all the advice, help and most of all the concern that my dad and I received and for that, both of us could not thank you all enough.

I am certainly going to round up all my friends and would like to do something to raise money to give back to Hospice Stepping Stone

Thank you all again
Barbara Wright

Susan Mey

Dear Stepping Stone Hospice and all Staff

Thank you for a fantastic ANNUAL MEMORIAL DAY yesterday.
I still hurt a lot as my husband Robert Mey, passed away on 22 December 2015.
Yesterday was not easy at all BUT ….. thank you from the bottom of my heart for every hug, every tissue, all the love and all the comforting words from all at Hospice.
May the GOOD LORD Bless and Keep you all safe.

Susan Mey

Veronika Dos Santos

Thank you to Stepping Stone Hospice ‘outpatient’ Veronika Dos Santos for this heartfelt piece about her experience with us, which she sent to her company to encourage support for our organisation…

“Thank you so much to everyone for all your prayers, your love, your care and the little angles who support us with our needs from time to time. You know how Mike likes to tell me to keep things short… you know me… no such thing! When I do stuff… I go big or go home!

Past seven months have been INTERESTING; maybe not the most appropriate description of my experience, however it serves its purpose without drawing you into a drama series of note!

Anyway, since December with all the heavy rains, for whatever reason the street pole that feeds our electricity got hit and we were without power. So I contacted Hospice to find out if they can take me in for the night as I don’t have electricity to run my Oxygen Compressor unit. (At that stage our Generator was out of commission.)

That was my first experience with Stepping Stones Hospice. “No problem, come!” I was put into bed, plugged into oxygen given calming meds and checked on every hour to see if I was okay. The following morning I met the ladies who head up this extraordinary place. That’s where my journey with hospice care began. God always puts people, places, things and experiences in our path for a reason.

In February this year, after experiencing another exacerbation, I decided, no ways am I going to hospital for something they can do nothing about. I am not sticking needles into my arms, being blood sucked like a vampire, only to come back with the same results: We don’t know! Taking more drugs and being kept awake all night. Urg, no thanks! I am going to hospice… so booked myself in again and spent the next 10 days in what I can only describe as absolute heaven. I have never felt so peaceful, loved, cared for and surrounded with so much light in my life. You all know me as a spiritual being and all I can tell you is that heaven literally fills every space and every heart of everyone there.

Some education is desperately needed to change the mind set of people about the sick and dying. Curative care is there to help people get well so we go to doctors and hospitals for their service and they serve us well. However, when there is nothing more curative care can do to help, people are sent home to die. That is a sad, sad, state of affairs people! Every few weeks I go for my check-ups and pick up my next stock of drugs. Have my lungs checked … but oops sorry we can’t do anymore. Best we can do is keep you comfortable now. WHAT? Comfortable… where in God’s green Earth is there comfort in being sick and dying? Any normal person will be scared to death and probably give in after hearing that! Life continues for that person and their families daily. We face challenges of time, sleepless nights and all sorts of other worries.

Palliative care on the other hand is care for the living! So that they are comfortable and find peace in the last days of their lives, however long or short that time may be. A holistic approach is taken, to include family members, because they do ask the family, “How are you doing?”

I am writing to you to let you know, through their council, their love and support I found a new strength within myself and will to live to make each day count. I may not have a particularly healthy body but I am ALIVE! So Veronika, what are you going to do with being ALIVE? I had to surrender to my experience and accept this IS my life right now. I am still alive and I can still be in service no matter what the challenge is. I am not limited by my disease, my disease is limited by me. Stole that from my son’s motto, “I am not limited by my wheelchair, my wheelchair is limited by me!” You ROCK my son! From this space I was able to find myself through my challenge and when I am happy, my family are happy! Hospice is a place where people find peace. While I was there, I didn’t feel any sense of despair even though people were coming and going each day. I just sat in my room when I knew someone was about to go, all I did was talk to them in my heart and reassure them it was okay. Surround the family with love. Doing that each day and talking to the family members passing by also gave me peace. Sharing is caring, right?

In recent weeks, Stepping Stone Hospice hosted a young pregnant mom with terminal throat cancer. She delivered her baby and was taken back to Hospice with her baby for further care until she could be taken home again. Another story I saw was of a young girl whose daddy was dying and the councillors found Joe and Buddy (a Golden retriever) to support this little lady through what will be the most difficult time of her young life. And the stories are many…!

Because of a serious lack of understanding between palliative (hospice) care and curative (hospital) care people suffer needlessly. I have experienced this for myself first hand. There comes a time when one does feel like you don’t want to see another doctor or needle or tablet again. But how do we survive otherwise right?

Family at home are placed under an enormous amount of pressure in caring for their sick loved ones. This is why palliative care services exist. Hospice provided me with a care that bridged home and curative in a loving, caring environment. Enough for me to find peace within myself, time for self-reflection, counselling and physical assistance where needed. Special care and every measure was taken to ensure my comfort from oxygen, medication, food and even space. Weekly visits from volunteer doctors. Who does this? Why do they do this?

Then I met Stepping Stones Hospice CEO, Tersia Burger, who shared her story about what motivated her to start Stepping Stones. Prepare yourself for how small this world really is. Vicky Bruce succeeded in life to start Stepping Stones Hospice on 1 January 2013 and died on 18th January 2013, the first patient and their first death. Vic is the daughter of Tersia Burger. And I recently discovered that Vic’s two son’s father, is Colin Sadie (died 31 May 2016) who once was an employee of the BED Family! Colin’s unfortunate passing has left a gaping hole in their family which Tersia works tirelessly to fill. I salute you Tersia for your love and your strength and passion to fulfil Vic’s dream. I hope we can honour her by our support at Stepping Stone Hospice.

For more about Tersia and Vic’s journey, please go to Stepping Stone Hospice is in need of expansion due to the demand for beds. Things get so tight sometimes that the office space is even used to move patients into! Tersia informs me that they have now started taking in adolescent patients and would like to begin paediatric palliative care. Now that project is particularly close to my heart because our dear Claudia loved children and was studying nursing to become a paediatric nurse before she passed. So to honour her, I want to support Stepping Stone Hospice’s cause in taking care of these littlies.

There is so much more that Tersia and their team are involved with even in social assistance to the underprivileged… no one is left out! Absolutely no one!

Stepping Stone Hospice is an independent organisation that relies on donations from the public. One of the ways they raise funds is through their second-hand shop. So if you have any clothing items or other goodies, good enough to make it to their shelves, please can you send them our way? There are a lot of elderly folk who cannot afford to buy clothing in the shops but are willing .

I hope that my sharing this with you puts to rest any fears or concerns that you have about hospice care. At some point in all our lives we will all be faced with assisting a loved one or even having the experience ourselves. Rest assured… LOVE IS ALL AROUND!”

Maude Pickup

Dear Sr. Sheryl and all, without exception, at Stepping Stone Hospice

As you know, Maude, my beloved mom-in-law, great friend, beloved mother and greatest friend of my wife Tracey and son Neil and favourite granny of both Tracey’s and Neil’s children, was called to Heaven, home of the Almighty Father our Lord, at midnight today. Here her soul will live forever in the Peace of His Kingdom.

Maude, by His will and with your kind assistance and understanding of her needs, facilitated her short stay at what I can only describe as a heavenly departure lounge for those in a physical state, less fortunate than that of ourselves.

The mail serves to record our most sincere and most profound THANK YOU to you and to one and all at Stepping Stone Hospice for all which was done to ensure mom’s stay was not only comfortable, tranquil and peaceful but most certainly it was showered with untold abundance of love, care, passion, sympathy and understanding not only for Maude but certainly to us as the immediate family in particular Maude’s children Tracey and her brother Neil. For us and surely for Maude, Stepping Stone Hospice was like walking into and experiencing what we believe to be a taste, of what we can expect it to be in Heaven! Stepping Stone can best be described as the Departure Lounge to Heaven!

Allow me to mention that the night staff Lisa, Lizzie, Nozi and Patrick were incredible last night, right until the moment (and very sad) moment of truth and even afterwards until we left the hospice. Now whilst I may have singled them out, I hasten to state that the day shift were also incredible in their own way and had they been on night shift, I am sure they would have done exactly the same as those individuals mentioned above.

All the above said, I am sure that by now our message is clear as it is simply one which records our heartfelt and unconditional appreciation and gratitude for everything which was done for Mrs Maude Pickup, mom, granny and a friend loved by all. May she Rest in Peace.

Thank you and be Blessed with all which is good, divine, blessed and may you continue to do what you do in the name of love, care and passion.

Best Regards
Joe, Tracey, Michael and Kyle Viede, as well as Neil, Tracey, Brandon and Sean Pickup.

To the most awesome people in the world

My Dad (Jack Gericke) was admitted to Stepping Stone on Father’s day. He was very ill and had a lot of pain, and he passed away on 26 June 2017.

We can’t describe the heartache to have lost him – he was our Father, our Hero, our last surviving parent, but we know God took him to spare him from the pain he went through, and we accept that, as that was the best for him, but it does not take away the pain and emptiness we feel without him.

We want to thank all of you at Stepping Stone for what you did for him. Even though we could not pay for your services, you treated him with respect, dignity and love, helped him where you could, made his pain bearable, everyone gave their love, their respect and their help to us and to him. The way he was treated by each and every one was amazing; so much care and love although you hardly knew him. We cannot thank you all enough for the hugs, the comforting conversations, just everything. There is not enough words to say thank you.

We cried, we worried, but now and then someone even made us laugh with a remark or story, thanks. We could not have asked for better care for him for his last days on earth, and without all the staff at Stepping Stone, he would not have had this. Please thank each and every one.

Thanks for calling us when you saw he was on his last, giving us the change to be with him when he gave his last breath. Thanks for covering his bed in the most beautiful linen for his last journey and also for the respect shown when he was fetched by GBA.

We will never forget your support, love and help.

THANKS, with all our love

Jack Gericke (JNR, son) Marinda van den Berg (Daughter)







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