The many faces of hospice care

We will help you live until you die

A kind and unselfish act of a Stepping Stone Hospice volunteer and her husband led to a hospice patient given to the opportunity to go on a week-long holiday to Amanzintoti on the Kwa-Zulu Natal south coast.

This is a dream come true for Daleen Dyer (36) from Florentia, who was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in April 2018. This disease, a progressive weakening of all the muscles in the body, keeps Daleen house-bound and bed-ridden. It is a disease of which there is no cure.

Daleen’s sister Anja, started a fundraising platform for Daleen on the Back-a-Buddy group in an effort to raise enough funds to buy a big enough vehicle in which Daleen can be transported. Unfortunately the funds are slow to come in and with Daleen now left with only slight mobility in her left hand and starting to struggle with talking and swallowing, the possibility of her ever being able to leave her house became less and less.

“I’ve been volunteering for Stepping Stone Hospice for approximately 18 months,” explains Alberton resident, Evette van der Walt. “Daleen crept into my heart, I visit her once a week and we literally just sit and chat. That’s what she asks for as she is very lonely during the day.” Daleen’s husband, Gary works full day whilst a care-giver, Maureen, looks after Daleen during the day.

“I know from our chats that she used to love the outdoors and it broke my heart to think that she may never experience the joy of feeling the sun on her body. So my husband, Juan and myself, decided to lend her family our Caravelle vehicle so that they can transport her to the coast for a holiday.”

Daleen has also impacted Juan on many levels. “It is so rewarding to be able to help,” Juan explains. “And we really don’t do it to get recognition, we just want to help where we can. We don’t use this vehicle that often and it’s criminal that we don’t put it to good use,” Juan explains. He has also assisted Daleen with the fixing and sorting out of batteries for her electric wheelchair.

“If there was ever an example of how hospice care helps a patient “live until they die”, it is this one,” says Sister Sheryl Newman, head of clinical services at Stepping Stone Hospice. “Our care is so much more than just medical with a large percentage of focus on the psycho-social services we render,” says Sister Newman. “It’s our promise to our patients and their families, that they will never be alone and that we will help them to live life to their fullest until they die.”

Caption: Not only the face of pure joy, but also the face of a hospice promise, that “we will help you live until you die.”

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