BOURNE, Mass. – Compassus recently sent a team of local medical volunteers, including Cheryl O’Neill, CNA, of Bourne, to assist the company’s sister hospice program in South Africa, Living Hope. The Compassus team, which included four registered nurses, a physician, two social workers and a chaplain, spent a week in Cape Town educating and assisting the Living Hope staff.
“It’s hard to say what the best moments were because there were so many,” said O’Neill, a hospice aide with Compassus – Bourne. “Meeting and listening to Living Hope founders John and Avril Thomas was wonderful. Interacting with the children in an afterschool program was really moving. We danced and sang with them and passed out their meals, which for many is their only meal that day. We went into the townships with the carers (hospice aides) and followed them to see patients. It was eye-opening to see such poverty. The carers pray and sing before going out into the field, which really touched my heart.”
Through a partnership started in 2011, Compassus donates monetary aid, medical supplies and healthcare expertise to support Living Hope’s healthcare and hospice services in the impoverished township communities of Cape Town, South Africa.
“This was a life changing experience, to appreciate what we have and what others don’t, and we all have a responsibility as fellow human beings to do our part, however small, to change the injustices and help the helpless,” said O’Neill. “I am grateful to Compassus for this opportunity to get out of my safe little world and see life in a new way.”
Living Hope, a ministry-based non-profit, offers healthcare services, counseling and education to more than 200,000 underprivileged residents in Cape Town. Living Hope’s programs focus on improving general health and hospice care, HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, and economic empowerment. Living Hope provides healthcare for more than 36,000 South Africans annually through in-home visits, medical clinics and a 22-bed inpatient hospice center.
Compassus supports Living Hope in three ways: funding, education and hands-on medical assistance. The company also matches voluntary employee donations to the dollar every year and will also assist Living Hope with necessary medical supplies and equipment.
“As members of the hospice team, we have a calling to deliver compassionate care not only in our local communities, but also to those around the world. This partnership allows us the opportunity to do both,” said Heather Greene, executive director for Compassus – Bourne. “We are proud of our team of volunteers and the work they did on this recent trip, and look forward to continuing to support the program in the future. We encourage other organizations and individuals to join in the effort.”
For more information about Compassus or its services, visit www.compassus.com or call (508) 743-0203.