Sunshine on a cloudy day

Gauteng’s ‘Hospital of Hope’ celebrates patient determination at annual sports day

Thursday, March 17 2022

Strict COVID-19 protocols and limitations on participant numbers did not dampen the mood at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital when patients and staff of the remarkable hospital on the hill in Auckland Park recently got to celebrate its 21st annual sports day.

The day has become an all important event for patients and staff of the hospital that has throughout the years witnessed the struggles, tears and moments of enormous accomplishment of those on their way to recovery.

According to the hospital’s general manager, Gugulethu Setati, the theme for this year’s event, ‘Sunshine on a cloudy day’ is a reflection of the courage that patients have shown throughout their recovery.

“These words really rang true for us this year as we all anxiously waited for the sunshine to break through when our big day finally dawned. The annual sports day was initially scheduled to take place on 3 December last year, to coincide with World Disability Day. But because of the onset of the fourth COVID-19 surge, we unfortunately had to postpone the event.

“This annual sports day we took a moment to acknowledge the difficulties that have been overcome by the sheer determination of our brave patients and to express our gratitude for the many blessings that, together, we have experienced,” said Setati.



Precious memories and words of hope were shared by Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital stalwarts on the day. General practitioner, Dr Virginia Wilson, who has been an integral part of the hospital through the years, recounted some incredible moments in its history, leaving the audience with a profound quote by Jason Ross that sums up the essence of rehabilitation. “Rehabilitation is not about broken people but about people breaking through that which we never imagined possible. It is not about coming to terms with being less than what you were before but about the need to have more strength and courage than ever before. Every rehabilitation journey is a heroic one.”

Rita Henn, founder of Rita Henn and Partners, the main therapy practice that provides physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy services at the hospital, recalled how the sports days have evolved over the years. “The event started out with just a few participants and grew to a day that is attended by various stakeholders from many other private and public rehabilitation centres. And here we are today, celebrating a COVID-19 friendly event with everyone wearing masks and maintaining social distancing while having loads of fun,” she said.

In line with this year’s theme, everyone who participated in the event donned a bright sunshine yellow t-shirt to brighten up the day which saw participants in various stages of recovery walking, rolling, or strolling on crutches to compete, bringing with them the very special kind of energy that always surrounds this event.

“It was an incredible day of activity, competition and fun, through which the message of hope, courage and teamwork resounded. The programme for the day saw patients engaging in various activities ranging from wheelchair basketball, bowls and volleyball to obstacle courses and adapted scuba diving, among others,” notes a delighted Setati.

“We always round off the day with some special Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital sports day traditions, including an invitation volleyball match between our hospital’s team and representatives from the trauma centres at Netcare Milpark and Netcare Union hospitals. This is jokingly referred to this as the ‘grudge match’. The trauma centres were yet again no match for the Netcare Rehabilitation team who walked away with the trophy.



“The final challenge of the day was the tug of war between the multidisciplinary team from Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital and the team from the Netcare trauma centres. This year, the trauma centres reigned supreme,” recounts Setati.

“While the ultimate aim of the hospital’s sport’s day is to encourage patients to have fun while participating in physical activity, teamwork and competition, as a healthcare facility, our first priority was the implementation of strict COVID-19 protocols to safeguard all those who were present on the day.

“The 2021 event may have been postponed by a few months, but the great thing is that having it so early in 2022 means that we get to do it all over again towards the end of the year – something which we all can look forward to and work towards,” she added.

Commenting on the event Netcare South West regional director, Nolan Daniels thanked all the sponsors that collaborated with Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital for their generosity to make the event possible. They were Servest, Empact, Rita Henn and Partners, Rehab First Lokomat, Heinrich Grimsehl Orthotists (ARC), Charlene Grimsehl Dietician, Arjo, Coloplast and Activo Health.

“Life as we know it, is a journey to be appreciated with each trial, each tribulation and each challenge being an opportunity to reflect, to learn, to grow, to build your character. Even after all the adversities faced, the opportunity for a new lease on life remains.”

“We at Netcare are, as always, honoured to play our part in this journey and so very happy to once again witness the hope and joy that this meaningful day inspires,” said Daniels in closing.


Notes to editor

Looking for a medical appointment? Netcare appointmed™ will make appointments for YOU with specialists practising at Netcare hospitals, GPs and dentists at Medicross medical and dental centres, and specialists at Akeso mental health facilities. Simply request an appointment online at or phone Netcare appointmed™  on 0860 555 565, Mondays to Fridays between 08:00 and 17:00.
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For more information on this media release, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:            MNA on behalf of Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster or Clemmy Forsthofer
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]