AFTER losing the love of her life more than 20 years ago Doctor Lucky Govender, 65, of Walmer has been a pillar of strength for her family.
A GP at Mercantile Hospital, Govender worked tirelessly to support her two children.
The doctor lives with her son Pat, 31, and her mother Violet, 88. Her daughter Theny, 40, lives in the UK with her husband and their three children.
Brought up in Durban, Lucky studied medicine in India after she was offered an Indian cultural scholarship. That is where she met her husband, Ram, also a medical student.
The couple married in 1969 and Lucky started practising medicine in 1976. In 1990 the family moved into their Water Road home where they have been ever since.
They were barely settled in when tragedy struck. Ram suffered a heart attack while driving home from work.
“It was a hard time for me,” said Lucky.
Pat said it was also tough on him and his sister.
“We were busy moving at the time and it was supposed to be a new start,” said Pat.
Lucky was suddenly the sole bread winner.
She took several different jobs just to make ends meet.
“My mom gave us everything we needed and wanted. I am very grateful,” said Pat who owns Walmer-based IT company EmediaIT. He said he thought about following in his parents’ footsteps, but then he got his first computer.
He spent more and more time in front of a computer screen and a hobby became a career.
Thena, who has been in the UK for 10 years, is a lawyer.
Govender said she got her work ethic from her father, the youngest of 16 children, who was a salesman.
She said he worked hard and spared no expense to get her through med school.
He was the one who gave her the nickname “Lucky”.
Named Thaivaganthi, she was an only child. Her mother had several miscarriages before she arrived.
“I was the lucky one who made it,” she smiles.
But that was not the only time she was lucky. Ten years ago she was involved in a serious accident. She was lucky to survive, but lost two fingers on her right hand.
She can no longer perform theatre work but that has not stopped her from being a dedicated doctor.
Lucky works long hours from Monday to Saturday and is always on call. Her patients know they can get hold of her anytime.
“I enjoy my work. It is rewarding to know you have helped someone,” she said.
The family try to spend as much time together as possible by having dinner together or going to the movies.