The story of a patient: Hennie de Villiers

It is always difficult when someone we care about is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Where do you turn? Where do you find support? HospiceWits has been providing patients and their friends and family with support, guidance and care in Johannesburg and Soweto since 1979.

We have seen many patients over the years, all with their unique stories. Hennie de Villiers was just one of these people we cared for. It was in June this year that his family contacted us to find out what care we could provide.

Hennie and his wife, Elsabe, raised their two children, Lelanie and Ian, in Lichtenburg in the North-West Province.  He was diagnosed for prostate cancer in 1992, which was successfully treated, allowing Hennie to return to his work as an auto-electrician and to enjoy his favourite past times: fishing and golf.

The cancer returned in 2011, and once again Hennie underwent treatment. In 2020 Hennie and Elsabe moved to the West Rand, Gauteng, at the height of the pandemic. Their move brought them closer to their children who could keep an eye on their elderly parents.

However, by February, 2021, Hennie’s PSA result was high.  A PSA test is a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer.  This time he underwent six weeks of daily radiation therapy which made him quite ill. 

Unfortunately, Hennie’s health declined rapidly from this point, and he soon became bed-bound.  He was 76 years of age, and Elsabe ten years his junior.  The family contacted HospiceWits in June 2022 for assistance, as Elsabe was struggling to cope on her own. 

The de Villiers family contacted HospiceWits and Hennie received home care from their registered nurses, Helen and Francois, as well as support from caring staff members in the In-Patient Unit.  Elsabe spoke highly of HospiceWits and the care they received and said that the home visits brought so much relief to her and Hennie.

In his last days, when his pain was very severe, he was admitted to the In-Patient Unit, where Elsabe was with her beloved husband when Hennie passed away peacefully. The family expressed their deep gratitude to everyone at HospiceWits for the amazing support, care and love that the family received

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