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Lerato Nzuza, CHOC Social Worker in paediatric oncology KZN

As a dedicated Paediatric Oncology Social Worker I go through the journey with families from the initial diagnosis until remission or end of life. It’s a tough journey but a privileged one. Although I counsel many families one family comes to mind. I had to break the news that their child was not going to survive and there was nothing the doctors could do. The child had relapsed and the cancer was very aggressive. When I broke the news, the parent was devastated and now it was their turn to break the news to their child.

As part of the therapeutic intervention a workbook was utilised to allow the child to carthart and share her story. The workbook engages with the child in such a way that every question that bothers the child is examined. One such question is, “How long will it take before I die?” Doctors say they have tried everything, would traditional medicine help me?”

Two weeks after being sent home the child sadly passed away and was buried the following day. The family were indigent and could not afford a funeral. I found out that child was not even registered as being born and therefore she could not have a death certificate.  After some investigation and with the help of the Induna, the child’s death was registered. CHOC also assisted the family with a bereavement gift as we do with every child that passes away.

Post death I continued supporting and guiding the family. At CHOC we provide a holistic and comprehensive range of services throughout treatment and even after the child passes away or goes into remission.