Mad Hatters do it for hospice

The heart breaking story of how Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services was started, was enough inspiration for a group of ladies from Glenvista to jump into action and organize a massive fundraiser in aid of this hospice.

The Ladies' Mad Hatter Tea Party, held on Saturday 30 June at the Art Farm in Eikenhof, resulted in a R75 000 donation towards Stepping Stone Hospice as well as a R5000 Spar voucher.

Says Anne Cruickshank, one of the organizers; "Myself and a friend, Paula Robertson, went to a talk in March this year at Café la Plume in Glenanda where the CEO of Stepping Stone Hospice, Tersia Burger, delivered a speech on the history and the reason for starting this hospice in our community.

"We were so touched by the story of Tersia and her dying daughter, Vicky, and the role that a hospice played in their lives in terms of support and ensuring quality end-of-life. My own mom passed away in a facility where, if I wasn't with her in her last moments, she would have died alone," explains Anne.

Anne and Paula got together with two more ladies from their church group, Claudia Dippenaar and Laura Markus. "We initially thought to host a tea for 20 ladies in our church hall! Well, with the enthusiasm and determination of the group, the "tea party" soon grew into an event where 240 ladies attended."

The tables were decorated by 24 hostesses who each had to invite 10 ladies to join the table. Raffle tickets were also sold and various sponsorships were sourced.

"I am blown away by what I saw today," said Tersia. "Not only the amazing sum of monies raised, but the initiative shown and the enthusiasm with which the great ideas were implemented - how do we begin to thank you for what you have achieved today," said Tersia as she received the cheque from the organizing committee.

She explained why the hospice needs to raise funds - "At Stepping Stone Hospice, we pride ourselves in our group of highly trained clinical staff, psycho-social workers and counsellors who hardly ever leave the sides of patients and their family members and friends. However, it comes at a cost - a cost that can run into thousands of rands, especially when a patient simply doesn't have the means or a medical aid to pay. Bear in mind that we not only visit or admit the patients but also provide medicines, nappies, wound dressings and care workers for the home-based patients.

That's why we raise funds - the reality is that on average 20% of our patients are financially unable to contribute towards their care. If one translates this back to rands and cents, it means an average of R200 000 shortfall on our monthly budgets. And for some unknown reason, during the months of May and June this year, the 20% escalated to nearly 45%. In August and September last year, the percentage rose to a staggering 85% of patients unable to make a financial contribution to their care."

"So on behalf of our patients, I thank you and I salute you!"

Caption: Claudia Dippenaar, Paula Robertson, Tersia Burger (CEO Stepping Stone Hospice, Anne Cruickshank and Laura Markus.

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