Our Heroes


My journey at SLCH started in Sep 2018 when I was elected as a board member on the Property Board. I had been referred by a former colleague who currently still sits on the board as he knew how much I am involved in community work by volunteering for various organisations over many years.


My name is Christolina M Francis, popularly known as Chrissy. I’m a Social Worker, graduated from UWC, Mom to two adult children and grandma to a 5yr old grandson. I live in the Southern Suburbs. I worked at CAFDA before in the Statutory, Foster care and the Community Development field.

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At the time I was also serving as an Executive member of the Summer Greens Neighbourhood watch as Treasurer (currently I am the Events Co-ordinator) as well as a parent member of the School Governing Body of Woodbridge Primary where I also sit on their finance committee, HR committee and fundraising committee. I attended my first board meeting of SLCH in November 2018 where I learnt that the finance and retail HOD post had become vacant. At the time I had not thought anything about it as I had just been appointed as Treasurer of the Property Board and needed to find out what my roles and duties all entailed. I met with Ronita in February 2019 to discuss my role as Treasurer and she was so welcoming and heartwarming that it felt as if I had known her for years and we ended up discussing part of my life story and how I managed my staff at the workplace. At the end of the conversation I was asked if I would consider applying for the finance HOD role. It was entirely unexpected as I was quite comfortable where I was at in the workplace and was not looking at changing employment at the time. I went back home and thought about everything and discussed it with my husband. I have always been one to believe that everything happens for a reason and that when one least expects it the Lord opens up doors for you and I saw this opportunity as a door that was being opened and needed to decide if I wanted to step through it or not. Giving back and making a difference has always been a huge passion of mine and therefore it didn’t take me long to decide that if it was meant to be then I needed to explore the opportunity of becoming a permanent employee of SLCH where I could contribute daily to making a difference in the communities. I applied for the position knowing that if I was successful that I would need to make adjustments in my life as it would mean a pay cut (we all know that government, corporate and NGOs salaries are traditionally different), but I was prepared to take that chance as I could finally make a difference daily as part of my job and not just part time after hours. I was blessed to be offered the position and officially started on the 27th May 2019. These past few months have been a blessing as I am grateful to be working with people that get along and work towards a common goal of providing quality palliative care to patients with life threatening illnesses and knowing that by pushing to gain funds and donations we are able to provide that care for free. I was amazed to learn about all the detail that is looked at in order to make our patients feel at home and at ease.

In Sep 2019 I took part of the Mrs Universe SA 2019 as a finalist in hijab, and was overwhelmed by the support received from my SLCH family. In the short time that I have been here, I have already gained such a strong bond of kinship and know that this is where I belong.

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Services rendered to the communities of Retreat, Lavender Hill, Grassy Park, Steenberg, Cafda Village, St. Montague Village, Lakeview, Hilview, Vrygrond/Capricorn, Rondevlei.

I started employment at St. Luke’s Combined Hospice on 08 February 2011, three months after my husband died. A friend of mine told me about the vacancy at St. Luke’s Hospice and I applied. I came for the interview and I’m still here – 2019.

Coming from a Statutory field into a Medical and on top of that Palliative Care, I had to adapt very quickly, and yes many a challenge did I have and many a mountain/hill I had to climb (still climbing), but with good support from the team and the encouragement I received from the patients and the situation they find themselves I pushed on and even started working much harder. I am working in the Mitchell’s Plain area, where poverty, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, substance abuse and unemployment is rife. Looking back now it was trial and error, learning so much and getting used to working a different way and appreciate it working in a team. I am still learning a lot and seeing the appreciation and gratitude from the patients and their families for the service delivered and the way things are done by the team is priceless. Working with people who are staring death in the eye and being told that there is nothing that can be done for them anymore, is a privilege and it takes you on a journey like no other and not always privy to all.

I’ve learnt a lot from the patients about perseverance, patience, never giving up, to appreciate life and others, being respectful, not judging and to love and give unconditionally. I always tell the patients that they are my motivation to come to work every day and give me the inspiration to deliver a service worthy and dignified to them.

Working at St. Luke’s Combined Hospice, which I only came to know in 2005 when a friend of mine died in IPU, has given me so much to think about and had me done so much exploring and introspection.

People think when you mention the name Hospice that it means death. This is the hope, I feel, that the patients and family have to quality of life and making life-changing decisions. They are told many a times at the Hospital that there is nothing more than can be done for them, sending them to despair and even feeling hopeless. In the end the team(IDT) have to strengthen family bonds and empower patients and families to work and do what is needed for the patient and themselves. For the team it is all about what is in the best interest of the patient and supporting the patient and family the best we can.

We do what we can in the time given to us in order to provide quality of life for the patients and their families.