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Cancer patient helps re-build ailing hospice

THE Mater Populi Hospice in Wentworth is undergoing a much-needed upgrade thanks to Treasure Beach couple, Patricia and Keith Swartz.

The Hospice, which provides palliative care for people with Aids and Cancer had holes in the wooden floor, a leaking roof and many very sick patients were forced to sleep huddled in the common areas because the rooms were in poor condition.

Having lived in Treasure Beach for 23 years, both Patricia and Keith had become involved in many community projects, including feeding needy families every Monday and Tuesday. “It feels good to give back and you feel a sense of self-value,” said Keith.

When she was diagnosed with cancer in March this year, Patricia began researching her options for Hospice care should she require it at a later stage. “The possibilities were bleak and when I saw the state of this Hospice, I knew I had to get involved and so something to help the people already in its care,” she said.

Along with about 18 community volunteers and church members, the duo have committed themselves to tearing the structure down and rebuilding it from the ground up. Since 27 July, they have already removed the roof and are currently building exterior supporting walls.

“Going through the chemotherapy and other treatments for my cancer, I know what the people in the Hospice are dealing with. It feels good to use my experience to do something for other people. Having this illness is overwhelming and tackling a project so close to home has helped me to deal with my personal struggles over the last few months,” said Patricia.

Money for the project has come from the pocket of the Swartzes and their volunteers as well as donations from local business owners. The project relies heavily on the support of donors and anyone wishing to assist may contact Keith on 083-632-9152, or after hours on 031-461-1639.

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