Live while you are still alive!

I read such an inspiring story of Stephen Sutton, a UK teenager who had bowel cancer and died on 14 May.  He developed a 46 point “bucket list” and slowly worked his way through ticking off all the fun things he had done. One thing on his list was to raise £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, but the public, so touched by his story, have already given over £4million. Truly remarkable!

My sister has decided to immigrate to Australia with her husband and two sons. They have each constructed a bucket list of their own; things they want to do before leaving Durban, South Africa. They are having such fun, making the most of their time here with friends and family. They are getting to visit tourist attractions that one never actually visits when you live in a place. Why do we only do this when the end is nigh? I have learnt more about living from those that are dying than the perfectly healthy around them. Without getting all emotionally twee and Hollywood on you, why not face reality that life is short and that we are all going to die sooner or later? I meet so many people who sweat the small stuff, get bogged down in gossip or stuck in their rut of school lunches and having to make enough money. We all come from crazy families that irritate us to the point of distraction, but a family fall out? Where no one speaks to each other? Doesn’t seem reasonable. How can one ever be so trapped in one’s own hurt and anger that one can’t look up and see someone else’s pain? Definitely not reasonable and not sustainable if one hopes to find happiness in this life time.

Not everyone has the luxury of planning a trip to Ibiza or skydiving, but a bucket list does not have to be that grand. It may just involve making the long 80km trip from Ballito to Hillcrest to see your sister a few more times in a year. I will miss my sister so much when she moves at the end of the year, but I am so proud of her. I am proud that she knows how to live her life. She has faced cancer herself before, surviving the awful treatment, despite being given slim chances by her oncologist. Perhaps she has had that second chance that some of us will never get.


Why wait? Why not be like Stephen Sutton who told Good Morning Britain: ‘This is not a story about someone with cancer. This is a story about 19-year-old who did so much in so little time. ‘

Let’s live while we are still alive!

Read more:

My sister and family on top of Moses Mabhida Stadium – Tick!



Don’t tell me the sky is the limit!


What a wonderful week this has been for Umduduzi – Hospice Care for Children. On Thursday morning we hosted a fundraiser breakfast for 140 people; many more than we thought would come, raising funds that far exceeded our expectations.

Paul Brandt’s quote “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!” comes to mind and this is why.

I am just a doctor working with Tracey Brand, director and social worker. As a young organisation we have no fundraiser and no admin support, but as an NGO, we must raise funds and create awareness; this within the busyness of our day jobs. We provide care and support to children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses and to their families. It is a difficult and emotional job walking the journey with parents on the edge of losing their precious child. Certainly not a ‘sexy’ topic but one that affects more folk that we’d like to believe.

So a breakfast it was. We started small, but soon found ourselves embraced by the amazing generosity of some special volunteers who swept us along on a wave of enthusiasm to reach our goal. Wanting an uplifting morning, we found guest speaker Nicola Jackman, actress, voice artist and joy catalyst. We laughed hard, as in Helen Zille’s voice, she instructed the audience to shout, ‘Yay!’ She reminded us of the beauty of children who have not yet learned the patterns of behaviour that restrict adult joyfulness. She talked about how to let go of all those bad and negative things and just laugh, right from the belly.

We are so grateful for all the love and support that we as individuals and as an organisation  have received over these last few months. Thank you!

And so, with our supporters resounding “Yay!” still ringing in our ears, we start a new week, believing in our work, being able to let go and laugh and knowing that the sky is not the limit.