Founder of the Highway Hospice and bereavement director of Lasting Post, Greta Schoeman was born in England in 1935 and began her career as a nurse in Britain before moving to South Africa with her husband.
Greta trained as a hospice nurse at the Sir Michael Sobell House in Oxford then returned to establish South Africa’s first hospice in 1982.
For two years, Greta’s home was used as the headquarters for the Highway Hospice, with all caregivers, administration staff and fundraisers involved as volunteers. By the time an external premises was purchased in November 1983, the hospice had already cared for 183 patients, 29 of whom were cared for in Greta’s guest cottage, the first in-care unit in the country.
The Hospice provides palliative care for patients with a terminal illness and support for their carers and families as well as education and training in palliative care, mentorship and development of community hospices. All these services are provided without expectation of payment.
Greta was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II when she was awarded the MBE in recognition of her work and also received the Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Association.
Until her death on 9th November 2014, Greta was the bereavement director of Lasting Post, a comprehensive system that allows a person to privately instruct their wishes in the event of their death. She was also involved in the Highway Hospice Trust Fund and other fundraising initiatives.
Photograph courtesy of www.expressions.co.za.