When you see the golden glow of our magnificent Tree of Light reflected on Jozi’s night-sky, I wonder if you also feel humbled to know that everyone of the myriad globes that make up this giant tree is shining in tribute to someone who has been loved and remembered – or is still needing all the love and care we can give?
Let me tell you what the Tree of Light means to 32-year-old Mark O’Rourke. A friendly, keen sportsman, eight years ago Mark started suffering from severe pain in his lower back and legs. He blamed it on excessive sport and gym, but sought medical help. After four years of misdiagnoses, he had an MRI and the truth was revealed: he had cancer in his spinal cord. An immediate operation was imperative. While relieved to know the cause of the pain, Mark was filled with fear. Would the operation be a success? Would he be able to lead a normal life again?
Only 60%o of the cancer could be removed! Mark’s life became unbearable … until a friend contacted the Cancer Association. Hope was rekindled when he was admitted to the in-patient unit at HospiceWits where he experienced the palliative care provided by the nursing sisters. With them, who have a deep understanding of the debilitating and psychological pain, Mark could discuss his fears of on-going
Mark O’Rourke, after a second operation in 2010, Mark was left with a tethered spinal cord and a tumour that seems to unleash more aggressive growth each operation. In February this year he almost lost a leg, but refused to give in. “/ have learnt so much through Hospice Wits, with whom I have a real love affair,”says Mark. “Inconstantly count the good things in life, including my really caring parents and family. And I’ll keep on fighting ’til the day I die.
Mark is one of the thousands of terminally ill patients HospiceWits cares for at any one time.To fund its invaluable services, each year-end HospiceWits offers globes for the Tree of Light at just R50 each. With each globe bought, you can send a special message of love, hope, well wishes, or remembrance. All will be printed on the HospiceWits website: www.hospicewits.co.za.