Stephen Hawking was one of the most well-known people in the world with a Motor Neuron Disease. Joost van der Westhuizen, one of South Africa’s greatest rugby players, succumbed to the disease in 2017. But when it’s your wife, your sister, your daughter who is diagnosed with MND, it’s then that the monster hits you in the stomach. When the devastating effects of the disease are no longer something you read about or that happen to someone else, when it’s something you have to live with every day, that’s when your tears don’t seem to be enough, and when your knees become raw from praying and asking and seeking.
Stepping Stone Hospice patient, Daleen Dyer (36) from Florentia, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in April 2018, a disease that leads to a progressive weakening of all the muscles in the body, which eventually affects the ability to breathe. There is no cure. Could this have been the worst news this young woman could ever receive?
Yip, it's that time of year when we start planning and looking forward to our Annual Golf Day, scheduled for Thursday 11 April 2019. And of course inviting you to participate and join in on the fun.
Looking back on our Golf Day held last year (18 April that was), we've certainly proved that we can put together a day to be remembered, on and off the golf course. Our 144 players, with the help of our sponsors, managed to raise the incredible amount of R220 000, of which R157 000 was actual profit! Not too shabby for a bunch of guys (and girls) hitting a little white ball around 18 fairways on a beautiful golf course.
So let's do the same this year, and go BIGGER and BETTER!
"THIS baby girl will not die, not today and not with me near, she will live," were the words of Chris Nel, retail supervisor of Stepping Stone Hospice's The Charity Shop.
Stepping Stone Hospice's ethos, "You are Not Alone," have yet again been demonstrated by the quick action of the charity shop's team when a mother gave birth on the pavement in front of the shop along Fore Street in New Redruth.
On January 31, at around 11am, Chris saw a woman in the middle of Fore Street climbing out of a truck and on her knees. The next moment he saw water and blood, and he knew something was wrong.
"I rushed over to the woman to help and when I got to her, her baby just seemed to drop out," he said. Before he rushed to her, he called his colleagues in the store to help.
Cancer: What has changed?
As we celebrate World Cancer Day today (4 February), we take a look at the history of cancer, and what has changed over the years. The grip of this dreaded disease seems to have only intensified, and although a lot has been achieved over the years in terms of research, early diagnosis and treatment, two things have remained: There is no recorded cure for cancer and palliative (hospice) care is still very much a part of the cancer journey.
Nothing could possibly explain hospice care better than the testimony of one of Stepping Stone Hospice’s patients, Mrs Margaret Smith (62), who after a few week’s stay in the In-Patient Unit, was recently discharged and sent home to spend some quality time with her family and her beloved Chichiwawa doggie, Pippa.
Mrs Smith, diagnosed with spinal cancer and lung cancer in September last year, was admitted to Stepping Stone Hospice in New Market Park in November 2018 after a stay in the Donald Gordon Oncology Unit in Parktown in Johannesburg.
“I just reached a point where I no longer wanted treatment in the form of radiations and chemo and tests upon tests,” says Mrs Smith. She’s been battling cancer since 2017 when she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Originally from Richards Bay, her and her husband of 43 years, Basil, moved to her daughter in Mondeor in the south of Johannesburg when she was diagnosed in September with spinal cancer.
Are you ready to be absorbed into a 5km Night Run like no other in South Africa? And "glow" for a good cause, in fact, "glowing" for Stepping Stone Hospice?
Glow4Events is proud to bring you "The UV Run" on Saturday 30th March 2019 at Rietvlei Zoo Farm, Johannesburg and even prouder is Stepping Stone Hospice who has been elected as one of the charities to benefit from this "first" in South Africa.
2018 - A year filled with challenges and opportunities
It is a well-known fact that Hospice has been shown to greatly improve the quality of life for patients and families near the end of life. Studies have consistently demonstrated that hospice is associated with reduction of symptoms of distress, improved outcomes for caregivers and high patient and family satisfaction. Despite evidence proving that continuous hospice use reduces the use of hospital-based services - including emergency department visits and intensive care unit stays - and the likelihood of death in the hospital, hospice services are still not paid for by government or the majority medical aids.
This fact, combined with new challenges such as the significant changes that are taking place in how medical related services are delivered and paid for in South Africa, as well as corporate downsizing, led to 2018 being one of our most difficult years since inception.
When Stepping Stone Hospice patient Oscar Mashau passed away in July this year, his eldest son was heartbroken - not only because he lost his father, but also because he lost his dream of ever visiting Carnival City. The thing is, he explained to one of the hospice's psycho-social councellors, Ruby Evrard, his dad promised that he will take him and his little sister to Carnival City in December where they can celebrate their respective birthdays. Amu turned 13 on the 8th of November and little Blessings will turn 6 on the 18th December.
Donation could not come at a better time
The culmination of their fundraising efforts throughout the year saw The Club 140 Golf group handing over a cheque to the value of R50 000 to Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services during the prize-giving of their annual end-of-year Golf Day at Observatory Golf Club on Saturday 24 November.
"Every patient deserves a comfortable bed and even more so when they embark on their end-of-life journey. This is one of the most important aspects of the care we provide and a philosophy we carry through to not just our In-Patient Unit patients, but also to our community patients," says Tersia Burger, CEO at Stepping Stone Hospice. "We are therefore eternally grateful to Vitafoam for the wonderful donation of 25 hospital mattresses as part of their corporate social responsibility programme," says Tersia.
A multi-purpose hygiene shower chair allowing clinical staff to provide sensitive, high-quality hygiene care whilst maintaining the patient's dignity, was recently donated to Stepping Stone Hospice by the Känguru Institute for the Disabled in Klipriver.
The Känguru Institute is supported by the German non-profit company IFB Inklusion durch Förderung und Betreuung e.V. Its owner, Wolfgang Groh, visited Stepping Stone Hospice a few months ago whilst on a visit to South Africa. He was so impressed with what he saw, that he invited Stepping Stone Hospice CEO, Tersia Burger, to participate in an exchange programme whereby skills and knowledge can be exchanged to the betterment of palliative care on a national and international level.
October 2018 not only marks World Hospice & Palliative Care Day, celebrated on Saturday 13 October, but also five years since Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services opened its In-Patient Unit in New Market Park on Wednesday the 9th October 2013.
And now, adding to the list of October milestones, is the pouring of the concrete today of the 78 pillars that will hold the extension of the In-Patient Unit in New Market Park.
World Hospice & Palliative Care Day, this year being celebrated on Saturday October 13, is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world.
The theme this year 'Because I Matter', centres on the lived experience of people affected by serious illness, looking at what matters most, including the often-overlooked financial impact of palliative care needs on individuals and households. The theme also contains elements of human rights and justice, asking: If I matter, then why am I not getting the care I need?
So many wonderful, wonderful people out there are reaching out to us, helping us to continue to do the work we do. On Thursday last week, the "Vat jou Goed en Trek" television crew paid us a vist, not only to interview both Sister Sheryl Newman, head of clincial services, and Marietjie Tame, our marketing and fundraising manager, but to also donate some much needed items towards the renovation of our planned extension of the In-Patient Unit. The "Vat jou Goed en Trek" television programme will launch it's fourth season this coming Friday, October 5 on KykNET (DSTV) channel 144. This series is a 13-episode reality lifestyle show on helping people to sell their homes. The head of their construction team, Kevin Brider, lost his mom in our Unit in July this year and he vowed to help us in any way that he possibly can. To Kevin and the crew, thank you, thank you, thank you!
It's all systems go for the planned extension of the Stepping Stone Hospice's In-Patient Unit in New Market Park and if all goes according to plan, renovations to the 435sqm, second-hand park home can start at the end of October.
The combined efforts of Kim Scanell from Grayston Travel, Russell Cruickshank from Cornerstone Projects, Thersea Corrigan from SCS Architects, Francois du Plooy, a town and regional planner, and a fantastic team of sponsors and donors will see the In-Patient Unit extend from an 8-bed to a 14-bed unit.
With the closing date for entries now firmly behind us, Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services is proud to announce that we have a total of 94 cyclists who will ride for us in the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge on Sunday, 18 November, the Mountain Bike Challenge on 11 November and the Kiddies Ride on 10 November 2018.
“The light came on – we realised just how important it is to see the patient as a whole person, and to include the genograms - a pictorial display of a person's family relationships and medical history - in caring for the residents in our homes,” says Colette Jansen van Vuuren, nursing services manager at the Rynpark Association for the Elderly in Benoni.
“Big Top Rock” is the biggest, most entertaining and daring show ever produced by The Barnyard Theatres and Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services is giving you the opportunity to experience this show first-hand!
The Barnyard Theatre Emperors Palace has allocated a number of seats for the show on Sunday 28 October to Stepping Stone Hospice to sell as part of the hospice’s on-going fundraising initiatives. A rock concert to remember featuring live music, aerial acts, funky dance routines and an electrical atmosphere awaits you at only R170 per ticket.
"The memorial on Sunday gave me a sense of closure and relief as my father donated his body to WITS University, so we never had a body or ashes. Being able to throw sand onto the buried capsules and release balloons was an incredibly emotional but cathartic experience. I also had a chance to say goodbye to my dear friend, Tracy as until Sunday I could not bear to let her go. She never came to terms with dying. Having the special caregivers there for support and so many other people who shared in the day meant so much to me. Thank you for all the hard work and thought that went into this behind the scenes. "
- Lynn Holmes
The newly established Stepping Stone Hospice Centre for Palliative Learning (CPL) was recently invited to give a one hour introduction and overview on Loss and Bereavement to 75 medical students currently on the Moshal Scholarship Programme.
Established in 2009 by Martin Moshal, the Moshal Scholarship Program currently provides scholarships to over 909 Moshal Scholars in Israel, South Africa and the Ukraine to enable determined young people from challenging backgrounds to attend the top universities in their home countries.