Hospice receives a boost through Rotary Club of St Francis

Corrected bank details at the end of this post

St Francis Rotarians had the pleasure of formally handing over a Lazy Boy electric chair and two syringe drivers to St Francis Hospice in Humansdorp on 8th February 2021.

Hospice receives a boost through Rotary Club of St Francis

Back left to right : Hospice Manager, Sister Ingrid Williams, Rotarians Ivan Beaumont and George Stegmann, Sister Sharon von Mollendorff
Front : Our “patient” demonstrating the use of the Lazy Boy chair and one of the syringe drivers, Hospice Office Administrator, Jennifer MaGrath

Rotarian George Stegmann who arranged the hand-over said, “The Rotary Club of St Francis was able to facilitate these donations valued at R33 000.00 through the generosity of both an anonymous family foundation and the Lions Club of Bremen in Germany, for which we are deeply grateful.”

Sister Ingrid Williams, the Manager of St Francis Hospice explained why an electric chair is so important to the work that Hospice do. “Because many of our terminally ill patients become extremely weak many become totally confined to bed.

The electric lazy boy is a great help because with the easy-to-use control buttons, patients are able to position themselves in the most comfortable way. During waking hours, they are able to sit upright and when they need to sleep, they can lower themselves in the most comfortable way to sleep.

It is also possible to adjust the chair to give the most support for patients with various forms of painful cancer such as bone and internal organ cancers. Many patients become short of breath when they lie flat and the Lazy Boy makes it easy for them to position themselves to relieve this.

In addition, if a patient is too weak to stand up from a chair, the lazy boy has a feature which actually lifts the patient up to the point where it is easy for them to stand up.”

With regard to the two syringe drivers, she said, “The syringe drivers that we have been using at St Francis Hospice are about 30 years old and are very limited in their use. They are limited in the amount of medication that can be administered as well as the number of days that they run for.

“Syringe drivers have long been used in palliative care to administer medication to patients who are no longer able to take these orally. Medications for various symptoms e.g. pain, nausea, anxiety, and restlessness are administered via a small needle under the skin and the syringe driver is set to run the medication over a stipulated time.

“Our wonderful new syringe drivers, with the latest digital technology enable us to administer more medication, more accurately. They do not run out of power and are easier for our staff and even the patient’s family or caregivers to monitor what is being given.

These will definitely go a long way to assist us to make the end of life more comfortable and dignified for our patients and less stressful for their families!

“We provide holistic care and support to terminally ill patients in the Kouga area and surrounds. These patients are in the final stages of illnesses such as Cancer, AIDS and Motor Neurone disease. Many of these people and their loved ones have to cope with their disease whilst living in abject poverty. Our compassionate care is available to all who need it,” added Sister Williams.

“2020 was a particularly difficult year for us at St Francis Hospice, especially as our big fundraising events were cancelled due to the pandemic. We would not have been able to justify purchasing these wonderful aids for our patients and their families without the assistance of St Francis Rotary Club and their generous donors who made the purchase possible.”

For anyone wishing to make a donation, the banking details for St Francis Hospice are as follows :

BANK:                                                   Standard bank
BRANCH:                                             Stanley Street
TYPE:                                                     Current Account
BR CODE:                                             05 10 01
ACCOUNT No:           080 260 349
Ref : K-and your name

Press Release – Lyn Aitken

Running the gauntlet in a St Francis 50 #2

Stephen's Scribble

This article will be published over the hree days o be sure to join us to the end

If you haven’t yet read Part One Click Here

Part Two

Continuing on from Part One ….. I suppose this marked the beginning of an amazing and memorable voyage. But I had no idea then, (doing some delayed paperwork), that what lay ahead would be far more serious than I would ever have imagined..

The “blue on blue” carries a unique energy.  Day in and day out you progress on your relatively tiny vessel across the vastness of the ocean. Somehow the sky above you feels massive. There is no cell phone signal. Your daily diary becomes appointment free. What you could have or should have done before you left is irrelevant. It’s you, the boat, the crew and the elements. The days of the week are registered in the logbook, but Saturday means as little or as much as Monday. In our case we travelled in style.

All cabins were en-suite. We had a huge chest freezer, two fridges, four plate gas stove, full size oven, microwave, TV, DVD, surround sound (including exterior speakers) etc etc. I divided the day into 3 four hour watches and the night into 4 three hour watches. This works well as the watches roll evenly between sunrise/sunset and the inevitable “dog watch”. The person on the 08h00 – 12h00 prepared lunch as well as did the dishes etc. Similarly the person on the 12h00 -16h00 did dinner. Breakfast was always a help yourself affair.

Steve at the helm on Penelope

Stephen at the helm on the Dog Watch

Aboard “Penelope” everybody (Skipper incl) made a real effort to prepare a meal when it was their turn. Food is always a highlight of the day at sea so; when it’s not your turn (which is 3 meals out of 4) you can kick back and enjoy the other person’s effort. We ate extremely well, baking bread every other day. We caught fish too, but not as many as we would have liked. (Maybe 6 in total) We landed only one good size Dorado but it the hook pulled out of its mouth as we were getting it up the transom steps. Instead of the fish being gutted, I was ! Doradao is my absolute favourite fish to eat.

We sailed practically all the way across the equator, which was amazing. I had received permission from Duncan Lethbridge (Owner of St Francis Marine) via satellite phone that we could use the new gennaker. We did, but took it down every night without fail! We dressed Deon and Kat in their foul weather gear on the day we crossed the equator. They sang to Neptune while wrapped in the remnants of “Patch”. As they sweltered, we toasted Mother Ocean with a bottle of Pongraz. Looking up at the gennaker I pinched myself at how smooth the trip had been so far.

For the Atlantic leg, we’re being weather routed via satellite phone by Duncan himself, and my brother Pete. Pete is an avid surfer and I couldn’t have wished for anybody better. Duncan too, was always spot on. As we approached the bulge of Brazil, the hurricane forecasts started coming in. It’s early September. At this time of year the hurricanes develop west of the Cape Verde Islands and come screaming across the Atlantic towards the West Indies. Generally they bend north from there, but as we all know, many don’t……….. Often slamming into the Caribbean Islands, the Bahamas or South Florida. “Igor” was the first one that we got wind of. Way north of us it wouldn’t pose any direct problems but it was scary. As Pete put it…………”Igor looks like a hung-over Viking who just caught someone in bed with his wife. If that thing gets anywhere near you, best you find some underground parking!” We all had a nervous giggle but the reality was that we were entering “the zone”.

With Igor to the north of us, I decided to tuck in behind it and head straight for St Lucia. After 32 days at sea, the Pitons familiar silhouette greeted us at dawn. Land holds an unusual smell after being at sea for a month. I breathed in its earthy sweetness with satisfaction. It had been a long haul but leg one was over.

Ideally I would have only liked to stay for 2 days but swells from Igor were smashing into the Bahamas and I knew it would be a very uncomfortable ride. As it turned out, we stayed for 4, long enough to enjoy some wonderful St Lucian hospitality and experience the famous Gros Ilet street party. The boat was in great shape and after taking on some fresh produce and diesel we set off towards the Bahamas.

Conditions were favourable and we made good time with the screecher, logging several 200nm plus days. Nighttime was always a little unsettled though with squalls forming quickly. Under clouds we were getting 35+ knots of wind. Lots of lightning as well but luckily never too close. The water temperature was 35 degrees centigrade……. ideal hurricane conditions.

After 6 days we arrived at St Francis Resort on Stocking Island where we were welcomed by George Godfrey and his family. Leg two was over. The few days there were chilled enjoying crystal clear waters and evening games of poker with the locals.

We were constantly keeping an eye on the weather as there was lots of activity south of Cuba. Tropical storm “Nicole” was developing and starting to head north. Our time was running short with winds forecast to go north off Cape Hatteras in a few days. Risking stiff breeze on the nose against the Gulf Stream was not really an option. If we didn’t go now, we’d probably miss the Boat Show. So we left in a hurry trying to duck in underneath the advancing Nicole.


NSRI issues warning after a busy weekend

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

Multiple fatal and non-fatal drowning accidents and water related emergencies occurred around our coastline and on inland waters this weekend.

NSRI are appealing to the public to be cautious in and around coastal and inland waters.

Only swim at beaches protected by lifeguards and children should have responsible adult supervision in and around water / Don’t try to cross rivers that are in flood.

This appeal follows on a weekend where NSRI and the emergency services attended to multiple serious incidents including fatal drowning accidents.

2 adult females drowned at Trafalgar Beach on the KZN South Coast.

In that same incident a teenage girl and a teenage boy were rescued safely.

An adult male drowned at Palmiet Beach, Kleinmond and in that incident an adult male was also rescued safely.

A 12 year old girl drowned at Glencairn Tidal Pool in Cape Town.

An adult male is missing on an inlet river to the Vaal Dam in the Freestate in a drowning accident.

Emergency Services and Police Divers are believed to still searching for at least 5 people missing in flood related incidents that are reported to have claimed another 8 lives in Mpumalanga in flood related incidents.

A 13 year old girl suffered serious injuries after falling from rocks into Clanwilliam Dam.

And in numerous incidents people survived non-fatal drowning accidents or incidents involving boats and paddle craft.

In many of these accidents public members stepped in to help prior to NSRI and the emergency services arriving on the scene and they are commended for their efforts.

We are urgently appealing to the public to adopt a safety conscious mind set in around water particularly now that beaches are reopened to the public and in light of floods from heavy rainfalls being experienced or expected to be experienced in some Provinces. 

Public are urged to be cautious.