Comair brings cheer to little patients

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - Tuesday 13 December 2016, Sandi Petersen, Chanice De Jager, Mariette van der Spuy and Jacqueline Pentz, watch Jesse van Neel (7) of Heideveld open his present during the shoebox Christmas present handout to patients at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Rondebosch, by staff of Comair. (Photo by Roger Sedres/ImageSA)

Little faces lit up with delight at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town yesterday (SUBS: TUESDAY 13 December 2106), when staff from Comair Limited visited to give patients toys and other gifts.

The gesture was part of the company’s celebration of 70 years of uninterrupted, profitable operation and serving Southern Africa’s business and leisure travel sector.

For Sandi Petersen, the Comair Airport manager at Cape Town International, the occasion was especially poignant: as a child, she was a patient at the hospital, suffering from chronic asthma.

“Returning here today is bittersweet for me. I remember well the care that was given to me and the kindness, dedication and professionalism of the doctors and nurses. That has endured, which is why this hospital enjoys such an enviable reputation.”

But, she points out: “This though, is tempered by the fact that this is a children’s hospital. Children, particularly on a hot, beautiful day like today and during the school holidays should be outside playing, not lying ill in a hospital ward.

“It’s why I’m so pleased that my colleagues at Comair have been so generous. Together they have donated a little over 300 gifts. We’ve flown these to Cape Town from all around the country, to spread a little festive cheer to the children here.

“So while we’re very proud of nearly three quarters of a century of operation, this is an opportunity to spread joy too. Many of my colleagues have already said they’d like to make this donation annually, not just as a once-off event.”

The airline has marked its 70th anniversary in a number of ways around the country, such as sponsoring trees, in conjunction with Food & Trees for Africa. The trees were planted at schools in Gauteng, the Western and Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and will provide much-needed food and shade in disadvantaged communities.