Vittorio Ventafridda award to Joan Marston

24 December 2016

The board of trustees of the Maruzza Foundation chose to present the 2016 Vittorio Ventafridda award to Joan Marston. The award was presented during the opening ceremony of the 3rd congress on paediatric palliative care: a global gathering on the 16th november 2016.


Since her graduation in Nursing and Social Science, Joan Marston, has been actively involved for more than 20 years in the promotion and organization of children’s palliative care, with a special attention to the development of dedicated services in the African Continent.

As Executive Director of Bloemfontein Hospice and Founder of the Sunflower Children’s Hospice, she promoted the regional St Nicholas Bana Pele Network, for children with life-limiting illness.

As the National Pediatric Development Manager for the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA), Joan and her team developed a strategy for a national network of services, stimulating a considerable increase in the number of children’s palliative care services in South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

Besides her particular attention to the needs of seriously ill children in developing countries, Joan has significantly contributed to the development of Children’s Palliative Care worldwide, by establishing in 2005, together with her Colleagues, the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN). Today, the ICPCN  has members in over 100 countries.

As the first Chair of the ICPCN Steering Committee and then subsequently as its first Chief Executive, she has become one of the most recognized authorities and committed advocates for the right to access children’s palliative care and pain management globally.

With unlimited energy and passion Joan, who recently became a Global Ambassador for Children’s Palliative Care, with a particular focus on children in humanitarian situations, continues to be actively involved in promoting the development, creation and consolidation of children’s palliative care services throughout the world, with the conviction that global access to children’s palliative care can be achieved worldwide through shared knowledge, the best use of available resources, and by working  together for a common goal.

On behalf of the many children and their families who have benefited from her invaluable work and in recognition of her outstanding professional and untiring dedication to the promotion and organization of palliative care services for children, the Maruzza Foundation’s Board of Trustees is happy and honoured to confer the Vittorio Ventafridda Award 2016 to Joan Marston.

Download PDF