Hospice for ill kids burgled again ... and again

2016-11-29 06:01
The hospice for terminally ill children has suffered a fifth break-in.

The hospice for terminally ill children has suffered a fifth break-in.

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How does someone steal from terminally ill children?

This is effectively the case as the Iris House Children’s Hospice on the Stikland hospital grounds was broken into for the fifth time on Sunday morning.

“It is so sad that people would even think to steal from a children’s hospice,” said founder and CEO Sue van der Linde yesterday.

She told People’s Post this latest burglary may mean less respite sessions for the hospice’s patients over the holidays, as repairs will now have to
come out the hospice’s Christmas budget.

“The thieves tried to gain access to our container and our main office, but thank goodness our security held fast. They were definitely well organised and had tools as they then hit our new learning centre, literally ripping off the door and security gate using a crowbar,” she said.

“The room has sensors – thank goodness – so the alarm went off. The thief or thieves only got to take our 42-inch TV, a donated item which we use for carer training, before they beat a hasty retreat over our wall.”

Sue added the hospice had al­ready spent close to R200 000 on safety and security upgrades and repairs after previous break-ins at the centre since its doors in Stikland opened in January last year.

“Despite all our efforts, criminals still see us as a soft target. We will once again evaluate our security and add more sensors, breakers and lighting to our security set-up.

“All the money spent on the repairs to the learning centre door and security gate, plus the purchase of the new security equipment, will have to come out of our Christmas budget.

“This is money that was meant to be spent on care sessions at the hospice and in the community ... over Christmas, which ­means we will have to reduce the amount of hospice and community sessions we can run this December.

“Unfortunately, this time of the year our bank account is ­very lean and of course we did not budget for this. Our insurance should cover the TV, but again there is an excess to pay.”

She said they may even consider not claiming to try to avoid an increase in their insurance premiums.

“We do need the TV, though, and quickly ... as we have a new carer training session already booked for 20 people in the learning centre for 9 and 10 December.”

Sue said they were very “saddened by the burglary”, but would “push forward”.

“Our families and children depend on our respite care, in particular over the festive season. We will do everything in our power to still give as many respite care sessions as possible to our families over the period.”

The hospice’s services are for free for all patients and their families and they depend largely on fundraising to maintain this, but the break-ins take their toll on the hospice’s finances.

“We will not change this model as we know our families have so many additional costs of their own raising a special needs child.

“We know that these are the actions of a few selfish people and this does not reflect the giving caring nature of the people of Cape Town.”

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