Somerset 1 Hospice 80's Party a Huge Success

Ordinary people get together to make a difference in the lives of extraordinary people.
Hospice is a comprehensive Palliative Health Care Programme for persons living with a terminal illness and their families. As such Hospice facilities and staff, many of which are volunteers, make a huge difference to countless brave terminal patients and their families through very challenging times.
Helderberg Hospice strives to empower families by giving them an opportunity to share actively in the care, comfort and support of the dying patient. Hospice affirms life. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. Death is seen as a natural part of life.
Hospice encourages patients to live full and comfortable lives through the management of pain and symptom control. Helderberg Hospice aims to provide a holistic and individualised palliative care service to all residents of the Helderberg area who require such a service, irrespective of their ability to pay for that service. Thus Hospice is hugely relying on financial support from the public and social responsible businesses through donations, fundraisers, lobbying, and the Hospice Retail Shops.
Inside this larger story of service, compassion and hope in our community, emerged a smaller but important story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to make a big difference to our local Helderberg Hospice, over the last couple of weeks.
These ordinary people are members of a Social Media Group on FaceBook , called Somerset 1. The Somerset 1page was started in December 2013 by a bunch of self-styled social media “freedom fighters” (sorry Juju), to create a space to express themselves with little constraint, but with fairness, and with wit and irreverence on issues close to their community hearts. What started out as all Chilli Chocolate on the outside, proved to have a deliciously soft strawberry centre.
Self-styled social media activist and founder of Somerset 1, Stephen “Pain in the butt” Leppan, proposed to the group members to annually support a local charity, and Helderberg Hospice was voted in as the recipient of Somerset 1 funds and awareness raising efforts for 2014.
Hence the idea of the Hospice 80’s Party as fundraising event was hatched, in the wee hours of many nights by ordinary people hunched over computers and smartphones clicking and tapping away, connected by not only the internet but by a common desire to be part of something extraordinary.
On Saturday night 1st of March, after weeks of online promoting, cajoling, hustling, tussling, begging and borrowing support, more than 300 party people arrived at StarBar to hit the dance floor 80’s style, and what a motley crew they were. There were the generation X punks with boeps, baby boomer big haired disco queens, with some stretch marks but with great legs, tank tops in neon, Mysterio the Masked Man, the odd dude wearing a two tone Veld Fokus utility shirt, suppose the eighties were all about bad fashion choices so I guess that worked, and the youngsters showing off their belly rings. Great music, great prizes, great company, great food (thanks to The Samoosa Addiction), great venue (thanks to StarBar), and a very worthy cause, Helderberg Hospice, made for an unforgettable, extraordinary evening of community spirit and fun, and lest we forget, compassion.
When the glitter has settled, the tables were cleared, the ringing in the ears ceased, pink dye washed from receding hairlines, sore muscles restored, purple wigs and Doc Martins boxed and packed away for next year, and Bactroban applied to pierced earlobes, belly buttons and male nipples, more than R 23 000 was raised for Helderberg Hospice!
This fantastic event could not have been possible without the selfless contributions, in time, energy, creativity, and cash by many ordinary people- to name a few: Patricia McNaught Davis, and her wonderful staff at Helderberg Hospice, Stephen Leppan, for his dogged determination to keep the ball rolling (give that dog a bone), StarBar for opening their hearts and venue, and many small businesses that under tough economic and trading conditions gave freely of their time, services, products, expertise and money.
Ordinary people, making an extraordinary difference….online activism and charity Rock On!
- Dawid van der Merwe 14 March 2014

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