Angels among us at St Bernard’s Hospice

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, Featured, Must Read, and People & Places.

It takes an extraordinarily special person to do the work that those on the frontline of St Bernard’s Hospice do as they care for those at the end of their lives, or for those fighting to keep on living.

At last night’s St Bernard’s Hospice Annual Gala Dinner, Mr Vrij Harry, in his Vote of Thanks, asked members of staff to stand up to receive a round of applause for the work they do at the hospice.

From the nurses at the front line to the CEO Melissa Knox, the administrators, fundraisers, finance team and board members, I can’t even fathom how this committed team dredge the consistent compassion and fortitude needed to work in this most intimate stage of life.

This is St Bernard’s Hospice’s official explanation of what they do: “We care for the East London Community by providing Home Based Palliative Care and Support for adults and children diagnosed with life threatening or life limiting illnesses such as Cancer, Motor Neuron Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, Susceptible Tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS”.

But what does that look like in real life? How do the incredible sisters, nurses and carers cope and keep going? And, of equal importance, we must not forget the administrators and managers that keep the structures in place for the work to continue amid scarce financial resources.

In the natural world, hibernation, migration, colour transformation and resource conservation – such as the water saving mechanism disguised as a camel’s hump – are all ways that some animals adapt in order to survive.

I can only imagine that our St Bernard’s Hospice angels have grown bigger hearts than the rest of us, stronger constitutions and sweeter temperaments.

I am in awe of anyone that works at St Bernard’s Hospice, and any type of centre like this. The levels of compassion that you all show on a daily basis are off the chart.

May God protect you all and keep your hearts strong. Your line of work requires more of you than from most of us as we earn a living in other ways. Keep you levels topped up, and keep going. You are all amazing.

As for me, my heart breaks for the folk who need the services of St Bernard’s Hospice, but personally, I can’t do much practically. I can, however, support fundraising events, knowing that the money raised keeps the whole (expensive) operation afloat.

For more information on St Bernard’s Hospice, visit their website here:

Like their Facebook page ( ) to keep up to date on fundraisers. The next event is a Spring Pop Up market (7 September), followed by a R25000 Lucky Draw Cocktail Evening on 23 October.

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