One of our own’s recovery journey.

I’ve been writing a lot about journeys lately. Today I want to write about the special journey I have shared with Dorcas in honour of our 22 years of working together this week.

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In 1999 I was visiting my outrageously flamboyant, larger than life fashion designer friend. Behind the tiara’s and feather boa’s his new temp was working. He demanded she make us tea. She looked him straight in the eye and said with a smile, “I think you can get it yourself”.

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Right there and then I knew I wanted some of that sassy attitude and offered her a job (talk about aggressive head hunting! )

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Dorcas started working with me at the Sunninghill Guest Lodge, and moved onto the property with her two tiny toddlers. I watched her children develop, she watched me get my heart broken repeatedly. We were a great team.

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As the children grew and started school so the lodge grew from 5 rooms, to 10 and then to 16. In 2000 we decided that we need to expand the guest lodge and opened another lodge directly opposite the hospital. Who better than Dorcas to run this establishment?

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In August 2006 Dorcas survived a horrendous motorcar accident in which 4 people were killed. She spent three very long months in hospital where she had surgery after surgery. Her broken pelvis took especially long to heal. She had to have plates put into her arm and shoulder, and these procedures, as well as a skin graph, made her recovery painful and uncomfortable. She had to learn how to walk, write and conquer many basic living skills again, which we so easily take for granted. She showed incredible courage and determination and now, unless you notice the scars, you will never know what great odds she overcame.

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For 19 years we worked hand in hand like this. Woodmead Guest Lodge focused on hospital cases whilst Sunninghill looked after the business travellers. We watched in awe as Dorcas’ two children flourished in school! Her daughter, apart from being beautiful, was captain of many sports and went on to study a BCom. Her son, (who affectionately calls me “non-biological-mom”) was the only grade 10 chosen to go on a European tour (and the first member of his family to travel abroad),became head boy and then went on to study mechanical engineering at Tuks.

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Dorcas bought a house, two cars and set her husband up in business, all while she was running a tight ship at the lodge.

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In late 2020 we realised it was time to pivot and declare officially what we have been doing for years and centre our business on patients only, and so, the Sunninghill Recovery Lodge was officially born.

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Dorcas was up for it and enrolled at Wits Hospice to study further. Her lecturer commented repeatedly that she was born to be a hospital matron and she qualified with distinction.

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I believe her own recovery journey makes her the ideal person to empathetically assist our guests as they recuperate here.

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