Long Time No See

giraffe©2013 Edward C. Lunnon
Friday 23 August 2013: 6 years 11 months on …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

My last check-up in Cape Town was in December last year.

At the time I had discussed with the good professor the painful problem that I had in my left buttock and upper left leg.

Everything else that I experience is uncomfortable but not painful!

We have tried everything – I mean everything! – to alleviate the pain, especially aggravated when sitting or lying down.

He suggested that I should see a specialist in Port Elizabeth who was doing work in this regard.

So when I returned home, I made an appointment to see her.

Only one problem – she is so busy that the earliest appointment I could get was on Thursday 22 August 2013 – eight months in the future!

I asked Dr Britz in Port Elizabeth to see if he could speed up the process and the response I got was that I would be put on a waiting list in case there was a cancellation.

All this time I have just lived with the ongoing pain.

I received a call last month that there was a cancellation and I could visit the next day! As luck would have it, I was busy with a motor neurone disease meeting and was not able to go.

So yesterday the big day arrived.

Armed with my R800 for the consultation, my medical aid card and ID document (which I had been reminded on a few occasions to bring along), I went to see the specialist.

Well, a good lesson for any patient is to discuss the payment with the doctor personally. It so happened that there was a discount involved because I had been there previously. Thank you very much!

The rest would be forwarded to the god of medical aids in this country. I think that soon we will Discover that the funds there have also dried up!

After a thorough examination, it was recommended that maybe a cortisone injection into my hip joint would assist.

It was just a jab of a prick and a little EINA!

Some anti-inflammatory capsules would round off this exercise in self-discovery and trial-and-error medication. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

By last night, the pain was a little worse and by this morning, even more so.
Let’s hope it will improve as the day wears on.

And no more sitting for the rest of the day … is this what a giraffe feels like standing all day?

ED is in wED 7 Aug 2013: AlgoaFM Podcast

Listen here to the broadcast: wED 7 August 2013 with Martin Groenewald, the Grey PE 1st team player injured in Bloemfontein.

Click below:

Thanks for listening!


Birth Days and Birthdays

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 23 July 2013: 6 years 10 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage CBD

Not many of us are born into Buckingham Palace – in our lifetime maybe some three in 7 billion!

Yesterday, 22 July 2013, saw baby Prince “Edward Charles”* Cambridge, a future King of Great Britain, born into the British House of Windsor.

I will not be here on this earth when he rides down the Mall in London to St Paul’s Cathedral or to Westminster Abbey to be invested as the next King of the Realm. Whether SKY News broadcasts in High Definition to a special wide screen in a comfy viewing lounge in Heaven, or whether one just views from Heaven the goings-on on planet Earth through extra strong binoculars, I do not know.

Maybe one just attends the occasions on earth in a spirit form?

What I do know, and despite the comfortable trappings of the Palace into which this Baby has been born, he, too, like any of us will –  wear nappies, teethe, grow up, be educated, experience high days and low days, cry and laugh, become ill (not having to worry about a medical aid!), have arguments, do things that are “right” and “wrong”,  be spoken about, celebrate special occasions, attend funerals and weddings, get old, be part of a family, get married and have future kings and queens, and have birthdays and die!

These past few weeks, we have had our fair share of family celebrations surrounding birthdays.

Charles IV (2), Phillip (18), Sean (21) and Granny (80) have all had their birthdays. Last Friday evening, we celebrated Sean’s 21st. Not quite as they do it at Buckingham Palace, but almost, and with similar traditions that go with these celebrations. I made a speech (see next blog), Graeme Clarke and David Bryant (ex school mates) spoke about some of their experiences together, Phillip proposed a wonderful toast to his brother and Sean entertained us with his response.

I was very proud of our sons.

As I was when we watched Grey play rugby against Daniel Pienaar on Saturday. Phillip captained the Third Team and his older, but shorter brother, Sean, was the referee. An occasion to remember, not most of all because a DP player tackled the ref! Phill also ended up being called upon to play the second half for the Second team game! So it was quite an afternoon for us to remember.


Our sons have not exactly grown up in Buckingham Palace but Ryan Road has done them just as well! They are our Princes. Long may they live – at least to see the investiture of the King that was born yesterday.

(* My very personal recommendation …)

Regrets, I Have a Few …

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 5 March 2013: 6 years 6 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage ED

Aurora Hospital is raising funds by selling a recipe book with local citizens’ favourite recipes. I have been asked to contribute my recipe and a picture of me.

So I headed off to the photographer Beverley Darlow last Monday and that put into motion the need for the Lunnon family to do a family shoot – something we have been trying to do for years!

I eventually managed to organise an appointment for Wednesday afternoon at four thirty. In a major logistical arrangement for us, the four would come from different directions and meet at the studio in Walmer.

But, as luck would have it, at three I got a call from Bev to postpone the shoot as her daughter had been rushed to hospital that morning and was still waiting to be seen!

So, thanks to modern technology, Blackberry and cyber-diaries, the appointment was shifted to Saturday afternoon at one thirty.

Well, cut a long story short, we eventually managed to complete the shoot on Saturday and now await the final product to arrive.

Our home walls would be so different and bare without pictures (photos?). They are the storeroom of our memories and the depot of our past.  The work put in to getting them there is often taken for granted but they remind us of our previous generations and us in better days! Just about all the photos that I have seen on walls depict the happy things of life. Despite the circumstances, the pictures usually display smiles and laughter – maybe sometimes even a forced smile!

I would not be able to be a model! Hundreds of shots taken from one direction and then another – just in the hope of getting THAT particular shot:  the right lighting, the right smile, the right background, the right clothes, the right composure, the right angle, the right body language …

But it gave me time to think, both during Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday when I went for a long walk along Sardinia Bay Beach in the most sublime weather that we have been experiencing of late,  

I thought about the last seven years (almost) of my illness and how it has affected the family. Life, certainly for me, and especially for them, has been very different to that which most other families experience.

Pera has become a bread-winner, a housewife, a Mom and a carer – each one a very difficult job in itself but the four together, juggling between the various roles, become an incredible act to master! Not one for the feint-hearted!

Throughout their high school careers, the boys have lived with an ill father and everything that goes with that. They are preparing for life but at the same time are only too aware of preparations for my death.

I thought of how different it was all supposed to be. I thought of what it should have been like and could have been like. For once, I allowed myself to think back – to look at those old photographs of my memories.

Regrets? Yes, as the song says, “I have a few” … but these I will mention!

I regret that I haven’t been able to be a proper husband and father. I regret that I haven’t been able to fulfil an occupation. I regret that my “job” has been a “pensioner” since age 49 – after all, we as human beings are often defined by the job we do! I regret that I haven’t been able to contribute in every aspect to society. I regret that my life as a healthy and well and productive human being has been cut short. I regret that I haven’t been able to entirely support my family financially. I regret that I have now lost 84 salary cheques (and you can calculate what loss that is!)

I am not feeling sorry for myself and I don’t want anyone to have to do that for me! Because, whilst there are regrets, there are so many other things for which to be thankful. When I have spoken at public meetings, I have highlighted many of the gifts that my illness has brought.

I want especially to thank those people who remember us financially and who choose to do so anonymously. Their generosity and kindness have made that I have so much less to worry about, that we have not wanted and that the boys are receiving their education and preparation for life.

One day, when the family pictures taken this week adorn the walls of the homes of this generation of Lunnons and those to come afterwards, there will be much to unlock in the memory banks that they will create.

After all, every picture tells a story (and a story behind that story that the picture doesn’t tell )!

And regrets? There are ways of dealing with them too. I will write about that next time.

Run / Walk in the Park 2013

Thanks all for helping us to help the Beadons.

Michelle Beadon, Laurie Beadon, VeeAnne Falco (PG Glass), Ed Lunnon, Loines Jenkerson (Walmer Athletics Club)

Michelle Beadon, Laurie Beadon, VeeAnne Falco (PG Glass), Ed Lunnon, Loines Jenkerson (Walmer Athletics Club)

Ed Lunnon (Walk/Run in the Park)

Ed Lunnon (Walk/Run in the Park)

Ed Lunnon, Loines Jenkerson

Ed Lunnon, Loines Jenkerson

Joost’s Disease

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 11 December 2012: 6 years 3 months on …

Physical:  Advantage CBD / Mental:  Advantage CBD

Joost van der Westhuizen, ex-Springbok scrumhalf and captain, appeared on the TV programme Carte Blanche again this past Sunday. He has MND – Motor neurone Disease and has appeared on TV a few times and often in the print media since his diagnosis at the beginning of last year.

In the United States MND is often called Lou Gehric’s disease – after a famous baseball player who contracted the disease. In South Africa now, people often refer to Joost’s Disease! I repeatedly get asked whether I have what Joost has!

Thank God for Joost!

Because of his celebrity status he has helped to raise the status and awareness of MND and other neurological illnesses.

But his situation should also raise a number of other issues and many questions.

For every Joost out there, there are hundreds of other South Africans with similar neurological illnesses who not only battle the disease but also need the support system and funds to deal with their battle.

How best can we help those people?

By law, medical aids in this country have to cover certain illnesses. These are referred to as PMB’s – prescribed minimum benefits. A certain number of diseases/conditions (such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, TB etc.) are defined as PMB’s and have to be covered for certain treatment by a medical aid.

Neurological illnesses (other than Parkinson ’s disease) are not classified as PMB’s which means that all treatment required for such illnesses, such as medication, physiotherapy, speech therapy, wheelchairs and other devices, home care, adaptation of homes, etc are not covered by medical aid other than payments made out of a general medical savings account should there be an available balance. This places an unbelievable financial burden on the patient and family.

How best can we be lobbying for the lawmakers to include neurological illnesses as PMB’s?

Joost has a foundation, J9, which is raising funds for research.

Where is this research being carried out and what research is being done?

How best can we be assisting in order to make this research beneficial to all patients?

How best can we be lobbying government to assist in assisting people with neurological problems?

Joostlike! The questions don’t stop … and the answers don’t come!


©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 10 December 2012: 6 years 3 months on …

Physical Advantage CBD … Mental Advantage CBD

Early on Saturday 24 November Sean dropped me off at the airport. I was headed for Cape Town – a trip that normally would raise much excitement in me. This time, I was a bit anxious. It was a quickly arranged trip in order to get to visit Tygerberg Hospital and the Neurology Unit at the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Health Sciences Department of Internal Medicine.

Besides that appointment, Cape Town is also always a time to catch up with family and friends and to savour the beauty of the Western Cape.

I am always grateful to everyone who provides me with transport and accommodation. It is difficult to see everyone and to do everything on the list; and this time, even more difficult than in the past.

But I get to see university friends Willem and Gretel, Jacobus and Tillie, Hermann and Annette, Schalk, Miles and an old school mate – last seen 38 years ago – Andre Cromhout.  Supper with Dr Franclo Henning and his wife Helen is on the list and then there’s also my sister Lyn and her family including, of course, Sebastian (my tour guide!) and Michelle, and my cousins John and Jeremy Voldsteedt and their families.

I also manage a visit to my late mother and father’s grave in The Strand’s Goede Hoop cemetery. The vandalism, subsidence, neglect and destruction there makes me realise yet again the wastefulness of graveyards!

We get to visit Harbour Island at Gordon’s Bay, Stellenbosch (ofcourse!) and its brand new shopping centre, Blue Rock Quarry (with its cable park, skiing and rock jumping) at Sir Lowry’s Pass Village and a trip through the winelands to the quaint Franschoek, stopping off for lunch (babotie) at Kalfis Restaurant in the historic Huguenot Road. All these places tell the history of the Cape of Good Hope and indeed, the European origins of our country. The Afrikaans side of my family (the Roussouws and the Bassons on my paternal grandmother Susan van Blerck’s side) farmed and lived in these areas and at Agter-Paarl.

Of course, a meal at a wine farm is obligatory when visiting the Western Cape. This time it’s the Dornier Wine Estate on the Blaauwklippen Road just outside Stellenbosch. The meal was great and the view exquisite – all in the shelter of the Helderberg whilst the Black South Easter howled at all other points on the Cape Peninsula (and for almost every day of the duration of my visit)!

But talking about eating – I’m not sure if it was the (one glass of!) red wine or the Thai green curry that did it; but somewhere I picked up a bug and was laid very low with very painful gout and gastric flu!

It knocked me for a six and prevented me from visiting some friends that I had wanted to see and also our planned trip to the railway station restaurant at Botrivier. (It’s amazing how the Western Capers turn everything into tourist attractions!)

The visit to Tygerberg Hospital was daunting but uneventful.

It’s amazing, in the day and age that we live in, that some of the most sophisticated equipment that is used to do brain tests involve toothpicks, pins and needles and cotton wool!

The good prof reckons that I am still in the CBD “box” and can’t explain why it has not killed me in the five years that he originally predicted! What is it that keeps me going, albeit slower and slower?

I had been sent a text message before I went to the hospital – it read “I hope you come back normal!”

I wish; but, unfortunately, the professor can’t make me normal again!

The best he can do is to send to London some of the observations and videos that he took. There a group of “wise men” may come up with some answers – but a cure? Maybe that’s pushing my luck just a bit!

And so, it’s good-bye to Cape Town – yet again!

As that bright orange Mango Boeing took off eastwards over False Bay straight into the wild southeaster that was churning up the “sea-horses” way below, I wiped away a tear or two.

As I fly into the storms that lie ahead, I never know whether I will return to the place of my birth. I never know whether I will see the beauty of the Cape of Good Hope again – indeed, whether I will see any of you, my fellow-travellers, yet again. I never know whether it’s just cheers, good bye or farewell. Maybe the French have it right when they say “Au Revoir”!

Whatever it may be, I want you all to know how thankful I am to each and everyone of you for sharing my life journey and for making it what it is. Some have been on it from the very start – others climbed aboard later. But, wherever you joined my journey, I am so thankful that you have been there with me – and for me, for sharing your life with me, and for shaping my life with me. Somehow, “thank you” doesn’t seem quite enough!

I returned on Wednesday afternoon on the first Cape Town – Port Elizabeth Mango flight at a lesser price than normal. I, too, am less “normal” than I have ever been and with the cracks ever-widening.

Whilst the comment is always “but you look so good!” an honest assessment would see that my thought patterns are disturbed, my sight is problematic, my left hand is all but paralyzed (and my right hand is slowly flowing suit), my left buttock and left leg and foot with its spasms are uncomfortable and uncontrollable – despite all the braces and the new medication in the form of Baclofen @ 2x day! ED is in“slowED down”and “spacED-out” – who needs Washington State to legalise the recreational use of cannabis when you can get your mEDs directly from your friendly pharmacist and have the same effects?!

More importantly, the “being ill” for almost seven years now is starting to take its toll on me and the family. I am getting tirED even before the real show starts. I am struggling to be just a person – let alone a husband and a father and a citizen. 

And it’s starting to rub off on the rest …



No End to Caring – St Francis Hospice

Thursday 18 October 2012: 6 years 1 month on … Physical Advantage CBD/Mental Deuce

I receive weekly visits from the Port Elizabeth St Francis Hospice team of Sr Gill le Roux, Sr Janice Malkinson, Jenny Nickall and Isaac Rubin.

Jokingly, I refer that they come to check that I have not yet decided to make the jump off the Van Stadens Bridge outside Port Elizabeth, which has become notorious for being the place where locals, with no hope, commit suicide. The Bridge of Despair lately claimed its eightieth-odd victim!

However, I am indebted to them for their service to me. They have become my light in an ever-increasing darkening world and my company in a lonely world. They are my assistance, my life-line, my helping hand, my listening ear, my crutch to lean on and my shoulder to cry on – truly, there is “no end to their caring”!

My family and I are relieved to have such professional support. Somehow, saying THANK YOU does not nearly seem enough!

So that is why I am appealing to you to help me to help them to help US.

Other people, too, that you know, perhaps a friend, associate or family member, will need their support in the future.

We owe it to the community of our Metro to maintain our vital services and ask that YOU be part of the plan to ensure that Hospice will be available to them. It currently costs +- R500 ($70) per patient per month, on average, to provide their holistic service.

Hospice cannot depend upon large funders and donors alone. Every cent donated by individuals starts as a drop, then becomes a trickle, a flow and eventually a stream!

  1. Should you wish to make an immediate cash contribution, the banking details are reflected below.
  2. Please also consider a regular monthly EFT transfer into that bank account.
  3. You may also consider the lasting gift of a bequest to Hospice in your will. Contact your attorney or advisor to set this in motion.
  4. You may also wish to supply us with postal addresses, e-mail contacts and cell (mobile) numbers of your circle of family, friends and associates to enable Hospice to build a database which will, in time, through fundraising campaigns and from which members may also benefit, secure the financial future of Hospice, a service of care and compassion which is benefiting me and so many others now.

Thank you for supporting your fellow man.

‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. (Helen Keller)


Trevor Wiblin                                                                     Sr Nonnie Mdaka

Executive Director                                                        Nursing Services Director


ED Lunnon



Banking Details:

St Francis Hospice

Standard Bank, Rink Street (05-04-17)

Cheque account #080 260 349


Donations of R100 or more qualify the donor for a tax deduction in terms of Section 18(a) of the SA Income Tax Act.



Return this to St Francis Hospice by providing the following details of family, friends and associates through the comment section on this website or blogsite, e-mail, fax or phone:


Postal Address

Cell (mobile) Number

e-mail address


St Francis Hospice

Phone:  (041) 360 7070

Fax:  (041) 360 1279

e-mail:  hospice@progen.co.za

The Human Spirit

The Human Spirit

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 29 May 2012: 5 years 8 months on … Deuce

Not one of us chooses to come into this world.

Biologically speaking, we come into this world because of a choice made by our parents!

Once we enter this world, if we are “lucky”, approximately the first quarter of our life is spent preparing for life, the next two quarters are spent living life and the fourth quarter is spent in “retirement”.  

Once we are in this life, the ride is not easy, and the choices along the way are ones that we make. We can blame no one else for the route that we take. What we make of this life is our responsibility. What we do with the talents that we receive lies in our hands and our hands alone.

Over the last two weeks, I have had the privilege of watching school rugby against Graeme College in Grahamstown and St Andrews College from Grahamstown in Port Elizabeth. Phillip has been playing and Sean has been refereeing and coaching.

The human race possesses the most amazing athletic ability (well, some people do!).

But the human race also possesses the most unbelievable artistic ability. I suppose it is that which sets us apart from other living species.

I had the privilege of listening to the Hospice’s Last Night of the Proms at the Feathermarket Hall last Sunday.

Philharmonic Orchestra, singers, conductors, soloists, Pipe band, dancers, organists, marimbist, violins, violas, cellos, double bass, flutes, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, horns, trombones, tubas, keyboards, percussion instruments – all moulded together into a harmony of the most soothing of sounds. I can transport myself out of my paralyzed body into another world!

The music of so many talented people who have gone before us is on the programme – Strauss, Horner, Williams, Handel, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Grieg, Parry, Elgar … the list is endless.

I also had the privilege last Tuesday evening of watching The Port Elizabeth Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s presentation of the musical Evita.

Again, acting, music, lyrics, staging, orchestra, direction, costume design, choreography, dancing, lighting, sound – all moulded together into a professional production of visual and auditory superlatives. Once again, I can transport myself into another world!

The talents that we have received know no bounds.

But all of these talents pale into insignificance when I compare them to the strength of the Human Spirit with which we have been imbued.

Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting many people who have risen above the adversity of life and who have managed to succeed. Every new day, I meet more such people.

I am busy reading the book Man’s Search for Meaning authored (another of the artistic talents that we possess) by Viktor Frankl, survivor of the Nazi concentration camps.

It tells the tale of the extremities of human suffering, but also the tale of the amazing powers of human endurance.

Man can endure so long as it makes sense to him to go on living: “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.”

“Men and women can be set free from despair and find new courage to face circumstances which seemed beyond them.”

It’s that which also sets us apart from the other species.

It gives me courage to continue the fight.



Men (and Women) of Iron

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 23 April 2012: 5 years 7 months on … Game CBD

Sometimes, even a man made of iron has feet of clay, and stumbles and falls. After all, we are all only human!

This past Sunday was the annual London Marathon. It’s of no particular significance to me other than that Londres is my favourite city in the entire world, and my surname resulted from the colloquial pronunciation of the City’s name by my Londoner forefathers.

 It was also the annual Spec-Savers IRONMAN ® South Africa competition held here in Nelson Mandela Bay. The athletes swim 3,8km in the Indian Ocean, then cycle 180 km in and around the Port Elizabeth countryside and top it all off with a marathon run, 42km along the streets of the city!

The triathlon starts at 07h00 on Sunday and the winners do it all in some eight and a half hours. The cut-off time for the rest of the masses is at midnight.  If one completes the challenge within the allotted seventeen hours, you earn the right to call yourself an IRONMAN ®!  

I remember being one of just a few people at Hobie Beach watching the very first IRONMAN ® contest in 2005. Lindsay Brown, who got me to run my first Knysna half-marathon in 2000 with him, and who had been the MD of Spec-Savers, was participating in the event.

But around this event has now sprung up a mushroom patch of other supporting events – Iron Girl (on Friday) and IRONKIDS® and the Vodacom Corporate Triathlon Challenge powered by AlgoaFM (held on Saturday) – and thousands of participants, volunteers, workers and spectators.

Of particular significance to me was the Corporate Challenge. It is also a triathlon, but just 10% of the distances of the IRONMAN® contest are involved. Either one, two or three people may complete the three disciplines.

Together with two other people who also have neurological illnesses like me, we were entering for this competition. Unfortunately, the interest in the race this year was so great that the organisers had to cut off the entries at 1500 people, and we fell on the wrong side of the cut-off point.

And, maybe a good thing, too!

The disease has been taking its toll and the last few weeks, I think, has seen more deterioration than in the preceding five years!

My body feels like a pot of stew simmering away on the stove. As you see little craters and movement appearing in the surface of the stew, just so do the muscles twitch and spasm in different areas all over my body. My left leg appears to have a short-circuit somewhere: it works and then stops – losing all its power. My left arm is difficult to lift beyond waist height. My mind is all over the place.

I have been laid low for the first time since becoming ill. No Stellenbosch for me this weekend (to see Grey First XV beat Paul Roos) and no beachfront to experience all the Ironman excitement. I have been confined to the house and to my room most of the time, and I have to guard against becoming a total recluse! This iron man also has feet of clay!

But don’t let me feel sorry for myself.

We were planning to participate in the Corporate Challenge to raise awareness of neurological illnesses. Yvonne Anderson has been extremely helpful in doing work with handicapped people and she arranged for me to see some people on Wednesday.

I met with Msimeselo Boltina, a young black guy from Lusikisiki in what was the former Transkei Homeland. He is some twenty-eight years old, confined to a wheelchair, cannot talk and has been (most probably mis-) diagnosed with arthritis! If we think we are hard done by poor medical infrastructure and support, then he (and so many others) really has a massive challenge.

Put into the equation a young psychology student, Callyn Bowler – ironically her father Keith Bowler is one of the main organisers of the IRONMAN® SA contest. In her boyfriend’s mother, she has been exposed to the ravages of motor neurone disease and has felt moved to assist people in this area who have the disease. She has researched the internet and with the information gleaned there, wishes to start a support group for MND patients in the Eastern Cape.

It really would be great to see her vision come to fruition in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Besides the symptoms of one’s illness that one has to contend with, it is often the isolation, the sheer loneliness and the lack of (especially) medical support that frightens one the most in dealing with this affliction.

I am fortunate to have – and I will always be indebted to – Port Elizabeth’s St Francis Hospice for their comfort and support. Especially Sr Gill le Roux, Sr Janice Malkinson and Isaac Ruben need to be thanked for their weekly visits – and Jenny Nickall – for all they do for me, and just for being there!

The Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa celebrates 25 years this year, and if ever there is a deserving association that needs your support, then here is one.

Please support them because, let me assure you, that when you have a loved one who experiences a terminal illness, Hospice will definitely be there to support you!

Throughout our country, they promote quality in life, dignity in death and support in bereavement for all people living with life-threatening illness, and also for members of their family.

“Celebrate Partnerships” with them.

 If you feel moved to show your support, simply sms the word HOSPICE to 40772 (R20/sms) and show that you care. (You can visit the webpage www.hpca.co.za for more information.)

IRONically, the word LIFE is made up of two parts LI and FE. Li is the chemical symbol for Lithium and Fe the symbol for IRON.

Lithium is a silver-white metal and under standard conditions is the lightest and least dense solid element that can float on water. It is soft enough to be cut with a knife. The nuclei of lithium verge on instability and the metal is highly reactive and flammable.

When cut open, it exhibits a metallic lustre, but contact with moist air corrodes the surface quickly to a dull silvery gray and then black tarnish.

Pure Iron (Fe) is also soft, but may be significantly hardened and strengthened by impurities from the smelting process – up to 1000 times harder in the form of steel.

Isn’t that LIFE? Soft as we may be as human beings, we are also very unstable and highly reactive. And we are hardened by the challenges and impurities that life throws at us. But at our core, we are still soft and we can exhibit lustre by showing that we do care.

Africans talk about UBUNTU: we are because of them! So as we celebrate being men of iron, let’s also show that we do have some lithium in us, too!

*(Interestingly, lithium salts have proved to be useful as a mood-stabilising drug due to neurological effects of the ion in the human body.)