Ladybrand is a small town on the border of the eastern Free State and Lesotho. The town centre is situated just a few kilometres from Maseru Bridge, a commercial border post between Lesotho and the Free State. The local township known as Manyatseng and Mauersnek forms part of the Ladybrand region. There is an influx of illegal immigrants crossing the border to South Africa which leads to high levels of unemployment in the Ladybrand region, and this in turn leads to poverty amongst community members which results in adults and children living with the bare minimum which creates feelings of insecurity and fear. Dwellings are overcrowded and lead to the spread of various diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis and many more. Due to the high prevalence of HIV/Aids the children in particular are vulnerable especially those who lost their parents. In many cases Foster Parents need to step in to look after these vulnerable children. Ladybrand Hospice provides holistic Palliative care to terminally ill patients and psychosocial support to their families. Ladybrand Hospice works with all members of the community that needs Palliative care.
With early exposure to death at the tender age of 16 when her father died unexpectedly, Candy Dixie was influenced by the effect of death on her life and the lives of those around her. In 1979 Candy and Joan Marston (Naledi Hospice) met through the Anglican Church when Joan welcomed Candy into Ladybrand. Joan later moved to Bloemfontein and through the years their paths crossed. In 1998 when Candy’s beloved mother was dying of cancer, she contacted Joan. Joan assisted Candy through this difficult time and introduced her to the full aspects of Hospice. Candy, for her own need after the death of her mother, attended a Care Givers Course in Tweespruit. This course proved to be the foundation on which she decided to put something back into the community in appreciation of her life’s blessings; she felt it was now the time to give something in return and her own needs turned into a new avenue of energy in supporting and caring for others. With a strong Christian upbringing and role model of a loving and caring mother, Candy’s love and compassion for people grew.Initially working from their homes, in July 2001, Candy and Joyce Morabane (HBC and Orphan Coordinator) were given a room by the Matron of Ladybrand Hospital. Together with another volunteer, Frazer Smith, struggling with no office equipment, minimal furniture and no telephones, nothing-deterred Candy with her vision to establish Ladybrand Hospice.
In January 2002, the Department of Works, in conjunction with Ladybrand Municipality gave a derelict house rent-free to Ladybrand Hospice for ten years. Thanks to donations from the local Round Table and many other local sponsors, the 300 square metre house was renovated and Ladybrand Hospice’s Sunflower House became a reality. Sunflower House opened its doors, as a branch of Naledi Hospice in Bloemfontein, nearly one year after Candy’s first meeting to start this non profit organization and finally the light at the end of her tunnel was shining and could now be seen. July 2002 proved to be a busy month but that was identified to be the turning point within the future growth and direction of Ladybrand Hospice. We opened a Day Care Centre, a Second Hand Clothing shop and the start up of a monthly support group for Foster Parents.
In November 2003, Ladybrand Hospice became Independant and has since grown from strength to strength. Candy Dixie has since resigned from her post as GM but is always a phone call away if we need assistance from the community.
Ladybrand Hospice is fully accredited by COHSASA (Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa) and has for the past 3years maintained its 5 Star status from the HPCA (Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa) where we are a member and our General Manager, Mr Willie van Rooyen is currently the Treasurer of the Free state Region Branch of the HPCA.