For the 4th year in a row Paloma / HSG Distributors were one of the proud sponsors of the CHOC fundraising walk up and down, Sani Pass. A gruelling up and slippery down walk from the South African border to the Lesotho border in the Lesotho Maloti Mountains. However, your reward is the beautiful scenery and a drink at The Highest Pub in Africa in Lesotho!

It’s only 8km each way but a hefty 905m elevation up to 2873m above sea-level! The walk takes place each year on the August Women’s Day Weekend.

This year, the weather was warm and sunny albeit quite windy. The Paloma Team set off at about 9am and took a brisk 2.5 hours to reach the top. At The Highest Pub in Africa a well deserved plate of chips was devoured, ready to tackle the walk back down. With the weather being so mild this August, there was absolutely no snow to see – a stark contrast to 2018 when cars had been snowed in for 3 days!

The downward trek was a bit slippery and after a few slides we made is safely down to the bottom for the donated Sani Round Tables refreshments.

The Founding of CHOC

CHOC was founded by Sadie Cutland and a  group of parents. When her daughter was diagnosed with a life threatening disease in 1977 she felt alone and isolated, with no support from anyone but her husband. But in 1979 she began parenting support groups to help families in similar situations, discuss their challenges and create a supportive community.  She also helped create a more child-friendly, less clinical ward at the haematology and oncology ward.

The name CHOC came about when support group members looked at the sign outside ward 294 at the Joburg Gen (now the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital) where Sadie worked as a night nurse. While there, she heard many stories of parents who were initially unable to stay overnight with their children nor find accommodation near the hospitals, while their children underwent treatment.

Can you imagine? Your child is staying in a strange hospital and you couldn’t even be close by when they needed you most? In 2000, the CHOC Foundation went national and have since opened 10 houses, 2 CHOC Lodges and a CHOC Cottage, where guardians and their children can be accommodated while children undergo treatment at nearby hospitals for as long as its required. Beyond this CHOC provides transport funds for children to return for treatment; grocery packs and vouchers for families in need; psycho social counselling and bereavement support.

The Annual CHOC walk takes place every Women’s Day weekend and if you’d like to say you ‘Walked Sani Pass’ and raise funds for CHOC in future years, please contact Agie Govender of CHOC KZN –  0312402917. Alternatively, you can look up to see if you can help in any other way.

References: Rosebank Killarney Gazette, Sarah Koning

Instagas also happened to be walking this year