Hard work, passion and absolute commitment from a team of dedicated women paid off last Wednesday when Alberton’s first Hospice opened its doors in Newmarket Park.
Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services celebrated its launch with 150 guests at the AMCARE premises where the ribbon was cut to the first ever service of this kind in the Greater Alberton area. Traditionally Alberton community was serviced by Wits Hospice in Houghton and East Rand Hospice in Benoni.
Tersia Burger, co-founder and chairperson of the Steering Committee, told of her promise to her dying daughter to start a hospice service in town. Vicky Bruce passed away at the age of 38 after years of suffering from Osteogenesis Imperfecta. In her last months of life, Vicky was cared for by Sister Siza Nkosi, a specialist palliative nurse from Hospice, and Vicky’s dying wish was that other sufferers must be able to experience the kindness and dedication of a hospice care service.
Within no time, Tersia and Siza surrounded themselves with their very own “Steel Magnolias”. Rina Davies, Trix Willemse, Judy Joubert, El-Marie Meyer, Marie Coetzee, Truus Odendaal, Marietjie Tame and Anette Mogridge came on board and the dream started becoming reality.
AMCARE offered to house Stepping Stone and in June this year, construction to the building, donated by Afri-Panels in Kempton Park, started. “What started in my house - a prayer for a few chairs, resulted in this building from where we can now operate our home based care facilities, and also offer day care facilities, an In-Patient Unit for the terminally ill in their last days and family bereavement counselling,” Tersia told the audience.
Dr Sylvia Rodriquez, well-known oncologist at the Clinton Clinic Oncology Centre, attended the opening and emphasised the importance of a hospice service within a community. “There are misperceptions on what a Hospice offers and it is important for both the patient and family to understand that palliative care can give back to the patient a better quality of life. It is a well-known fact that a terminally-ill patient can live longer under the care of Hospice,” she said.
Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services receives no government funding and is totally reliant upon the generosity of the community, public sector and fundraising events.
For any further information of if you wish to donate to the Stepping Stone Hospice, kindly contact them on 011 869-5856 or 076 631 6998.