Testimonials

Hawkes Family Testimonial – for our Ben


Our son Ben was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone/tumour Cancer) around the time of his 10th birthday 27 February. He fought it bravely undergoing Chemotherapy, Limb Salvage Surgery and Radiation therapy, in the December he had a clear PET scan.
Unfortunately towards the end of January/February, we discovered that the Cancer had metastasised and was now in his lungs.
After another difficult and aggressive Chemotherapy programme, weeks in hospital and terrible discomfort with an open-ended drain inserted into his Lungs we were told there really wasn’t anything more we could to for our son Benjamin other than moving him to a different hospital and possibly extend his life for a bit with a Radiation programme but it would certainly not cure him. We asked the Oncologist how much time she thought he had left if we took Ben home and she estimated about 3 days …it was a Friday pm, so Ben probably would not make it much past the Monday.
It was and will always be one of the toughest and most difficult moments in our lives, we sat with Ben and told him the truth (something we had agreed on from the start) and his little face as he replied “so I’m going to die”, I replied: “Yes, my boy….’ We then told him that it was up to him what he wanted to do next, we could move to a different hospital for more Radiation or we could go home… Ben may have only been 11yrs old but he answered “I promised that I would beat this Cancer and I did, but it came back and I’m just so tired, I just want to go home….’
It was the Oncologist reaction that surprised me as we told her we were going home, she almost couldn’t believe that we had chosen this option and then told us how difficult it was going to be for us… in the next seven weeks we had very limited contact with the oncology team. We then had to organise our own medication, oxygen machines, dressings and all the things we would need at home to keep Ben comfortable…. With very little help I might add. (Fortunately, we had made a good friend in Ben’s Orthopaedic surgeon and he helped us a lot with dressings etc.)
It felt very difficult to get advice on medication and issues such as water retention for Ben as he was living longer than was expected. One of the responses was,” You did not want further treatment”. It did feel as if they could not cure Ben, therefore they could not help us anymore.
It was on the Saturday night that I got a phone call from one of the Umduduzi board members who had heard via a cousin of mine, at a sporting event, over a 1000km’s away about our son Ben’s story… He proceeded to tell me about Umduduzi ‘Children’s Palliative care’ … all I remember saying was thank you but the oncologist had said Ben probably wouldn’t make it through the weekend.
Then the strangest thing happened, Ben started to seem like he was getting stronger and feeling better, panic as we had only very limited medication, dressings and most terrifying absolutely no information on how to deal with what was now happening. I then remembered my phone conversation about Umduduzi…. I googled them, found their contact details, email them at Midnight and at 8 am we received a phone call from Dr Ambler and she was at our house at 1 pm that same day.
Dr Ambler introduced herself to Ben, he instantly liked her because she spoke to him as an adult, never pinched his cheeks or rubbed his head something Ben really hated. Over a cup of coffee we had the first honest chat about Palliative care, what we could expect and a conversation about death. The most notable thing to come out of this chat was that one should never give timelines about the passing of a loved one as we found out with Ben living at home with us for almost another 7 weeks. Dr Ambler advised us on what to expect in the dying stage, discussed extra pain medication to ensure Ben would be pain-free as much as possible & how we were all coping emotionally.
Ben continued to surprise us & we went on to have outings to our local beach kiosk, Crocworld and we even managed to go to the movies to watch one of Bens favourite sequels ‘Guardians of the Galaxy II’, but more importantly he was at home in his own bed with his Mom, Dad, Sister, dogs, his guinea pigs and his Lego.
Ben finally died peacefully at 2am in his bed at home surrounded by all those who Love him…. Mom, Dad, his Sister Abigail (including Teddy and mNini the dogs)
There is a definite need to reach out to and educate Doctors, Medical Practitioners and families and about the benefits of Palliative Care; how important the last bit of dignity and sense of peace it brings for patients and families alike. Having the support of someone who understands what you are going through and reassuring you that you are doing the best you can do for your child is invaluable. Those last 7 weeks we had with our son was the most terrifying, heart-wrenching, but most special time and having the support of Umduduzi, helped us immensely. The grief of losing a loved one never goes away and I know, two years on that we still shed a tear almost every day but sharing Ben’s final moments at home as a family was and always will be very special.
Umduduzi
2020-05-11T07:51:52+00:00
Our son Ben was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone/tumour Cancer) around the time of his 10th birthday 27 February. He fought it bravely undergoing Chemotherapy, Limb Salvage Surgery and Radiation therapy, in the December he had a clear PET scan. Unfortunately towards the end of January/February, we discovered that the Cancer had metastasised and was now in his lungs. After another difficult and aggressive Chemotherapy programme, weeks in hospital and terrible discomfort with an open-ended drain inserted into his Lungs we were told there really wasn’t anything more we could to for our son Benjamin other than moving him to a different hospital and possibly extend his life for a bit with a Radiation programme but it would certainly not cure him. We asked the Oncologist how much time she thought he had left if we took Ben home and she estimated about 3 days …it was a Friday pm, so Ben probably would not make it much past the Monday. It was and will always be one of the toughest and most difficult moments in our lives, we sat with Ben and told him the truth (something we had agreed on from the start) and his little face as he replied “so I’m going to die”, I replied: “Yes, my boy….’ We then told him that it was up to him what he wanted to do next, we could move to a different hospital for more Radiation or we could go home… Ben may have only been 11yrs old but he answered “I promised that I would beat this Cancer and I did, but it came back and I’m just so tired, I just want to go home….’ It was the Oncologist reaction that surprised me as we told her we were going home, she almost couldn’t believe that we...

Sheila Collins, La Lucia Baby House


Umduduzi founder, Dr Julia Ambler, came to our side offering expertise while we were feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and alone. Palliative care and support are given in a professional, compassionate, gentle yet decisive way became an anchor to us as we journeyed with a child with a life-threatening illness.
Umduduzi
2020-05-11T07:49:10+00:00
Umduduzi founder, Dr Julia Ambler, came to our side offering expertise while we were feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and alone. Palliative care and support are given in a professional, compassionate, gentle yet decisive way became an anchor to us as we journeyed with a child with a life-threatening illness.

Prof Refiloe Masekela, Head of the Department of Paediatrics, Nelson Mandela Medical School, UKZN, 2020


“The KwaZulu Natal province has a high burden of infectious (in particular HIV and TB) and non-communicable diseases with over 3 million children. Acute and chronic life-threatening and life-limiting diseases pose a significant socioeconomic and emotional burden to children and their family support structures. Umduduzi has provided the support and care for children and their families through the hospice and in-patient support as the only dedicated provider of paediatric palliative care in KwaZulu Natal. Through their passion and compassion, they provide our “little” people with comfort and a voice.”
Umduduzi
2020-05-11T07:48:31+00:00
“The KwaZulu Natal province has a high burden of infectious (in particular HIV and TB) and non-communicable diseases with over 3 million children. Acute and chronic life-threatening and life-limiting diseases pose a significant socioeconomic and emotional burden to children and their family support structures. Umduduzi has provided the support and care for children and their families through the hospice and in-patient support as the only dedicated provider of paediatric palliative care in KwaZulu Natal. Through their passion and compassion, they provide our “little” people with comfort and a voice.”

Dr Darshan Reddy, Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre, 2020


"Umduduzi works closely with the Lenmed Ethekwini Congenital Heart Centre providing excellent care and support to families of babies and children having heart surgery".
Umduduzi
2020-05-11T07:47:34+00:00
"Umduduzi works closely with the Lenmed Ethekwini Congenital Heart Centre providing excellent care and support to families of babies and children having heart surgery".

Dr Barnesh Dhadha, Head of Clinic Unit, Paediatrics, Greys Hospital, 2020


“Very few can do this important and difficult work with our children and their families – Umduduzi does so with care!”
Umduduzi
2020-05-11T07:43:14+00:00
“Very few can do this important and difficult work with our children and their families – Umduduzi does so with care!”

Blake of the Junaid Foundation, 2020


“Supporting Umduduzi is done with heartfelt emotion after losing my son to kidney failure. Julia and Tracey are truly inspiring in all the work they do managing their patient's pain during their chronic illness. “
Umduduzi
2020-05-11T07:42:53+00:00
“Supporting Umduduzi is done with heartfelt emotion after losing my son to kidney failure. Julia and Tracey are truly inspiring in all the work they do managing their patient's pain during their chronic illness. “

Dina Thorncroft, Clinical Manager, South Coast Hospice, 2017


“As a partner in the provision of Palliative Care for people facing a life-threatening disease, we have seen first-hand the fantastic work that this organisation does with sick children and their families. Caring for sick children is never easy and particularly in the face of the death of a child – which seems so very wrong. Being able to support a family in caring for a child, and helping them to experience peace at a difficult time is truly a gift.”
Umduduzi
2015-06-05T08:55:28+00:00
“As a partner in the provision of Palliative Care for people facing a life-threatening disease, we have seen first-hand the fantastic work that this organisation does with sick children and their families. Caring for sick children is never easy and particularly in the face of the death of a child – which seems so very wrong. Being able to support a family in caring for a child, and helping them to experience peace at a difficult time is truly a gift.”

Dr Ebrahim GM Hoosen, Head: Paediatric Cardiology, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, 2015


“Umduduzi has been of great assistance to us in the management and palliation of children with terminal cardiac conditions. Their help has been invaluable in allowing patients, families and caregivers deal with imminent death as effectively and with as much comfort as possible.”
Umduduzi
2015-06-05T08:55:04+00:00
“Umduduzi has been of great assistance to us in the management and palliation of children with terminal cardiac conditions. Their help has been invaluable in allowing patients, families and caregivers deal with imminent death as effectively and with as much comfort as possible.”

Mother of Liam, age 2, 2019


“Umduduzi shows compassion and love, giving hope to the hopeless.”
Umduduzi
2015-06-05T08:54:32+00:00
“Umduduzi shows compassion and love, giving hope to the hopeless.”
0
0
Umduduzi

Header Layout

Navigation

Color Skin