THE purpose and preservation of life are the driving reasons behind Nelson Mandela Bay's hard working haematologist Dr Neil Littleton.
The doctor, although arguably one of the most recognisable in the Eastern Cape, prefers to go quietly about his job behind the scenes and away from the glare of the camera even though he won the business category of The Herald 2010 Citizen of the Year awards.
He is known for his work with haematology patients in the public health sector and more recently, his work in launching the Igazi Foundation's specialised ward for haematology patients at Provincial Hospital.
The outpatients section of the ward finally opened its doors last night after nearly a year of staff shortages kept it closed.
With the Eastern Cape having the highest incidence of blood diseases in South Africa, Littleton barely has time to put down his stethoscope but gave his time to have a late lunch with La Femme at Bocadillos in Walmer.
His phone rang relentlessly throughout the late lunch and he answered it without fail – a sure sign of his unfailing dedication to his craft.
Behind the recognition he has received is a humble man who – despite the challenges – is dedicated to serving those who walk through his ward.
Despite the challenges, the man from Somerset West has a sharp sense of humour and said his very little free time is spent working in his garden or spending time with his loved ones.
I love my career because ... it makes me realise what is important in life every day, not to sweat the small things or the big things but to appreciate the free things like family and love.
I have a soft spot for ... the underdog, the helpless and indigent. And animals.
I should have studied ... zoology or botany but ultimately I'm glad about my choices – so far.
I'd love to party with ... Cher but actually just having a glass of wine with her and long chat would be sublime – I really had to think about this one!
I'm listening to ... jazz from the '20s to '60s and Maria Callas.
When I was 16, I knew ... everything, ask my parents.
I'll know I've made it when ... I have achieved everything I've set out to do, but unfortunately as with life, the goal posts constantly move. That's kind of what keeps us motivated through life.
The person who has taught me the most is ... myself. Learning from my mistakes in life. I'm quite a tough teacher, I found out.
My music weakness is ... not sure I have one. My life does not orbit around my iPod.
Nothing makes me happier than ... cooking or toiling in the garden.
I absolutely hate ... selfish people. From road users to people who have a misbelief that they are and should be entitled.
I am saving to buy ... I don't have great material aspirations but it would be a relief to have a much reduced bond.
I share my life with ... my family and two dogs.
I can't go a day without ... Marmite and a glass of red wine.
In 10 years I see myself ... retired and only working for the joy of it to stop cerebral atrophy.