My involvement with the Hospice began almost thirty years ago, when my Mum to whom I was extremely close, was diagnosed with breast cancer. We were visited and supported by Dr Lamerton and Jayne Medlicot, who founded the Hospice. They cared for mam so well and always kept us informed of what was going on. Mum sadly passed away in 2009 after being diagnosed with secondary cancer in the bones.  As a family, we had so much support from the Hospice and nothing was ever too much trouble.

Nine months after Mum died, my Dad was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer and once again was referred to the Hospice, knowing the care that we had already received we had no hesitation in the Hospice being involved. Whist still reeling from the loss of my Mum and now Dad’s illness my husband suffered a massive heart attack at home and passed away suddenly.  Still grieving for Mum at one point I felt so confused and wasn’t sure who I was grieving for! I didn’t know if I was coming or going and emotionally felt drained. Again the Hospice were there at my side, I was given so much support, love and reassurance, I knew they were there for me and it was a lovely feeling.

Unbelievably just a few years later my daughter Kerry was diagnosed with breast cancer and died just a year later age 34. I was totally devastated, losing a child is the hardest thing any parent could go through. However, I worked hard to stay strong for my grandson who was only 14 and my dad who was still battling on. Once again, the Hospice were there to help. My Grandson was finding it very hard to cope but thanks to the counselling from the Family Support Team, he’s in a much better place. Kerry would be proud of him and the man he has become – he’s even training to become a nurse himself!

Dad passed away in 2018 and this opened the floodgates once again, it really hit me hard. I knew I could not cope and so turned to the Hospice for support. In my first session with Jonathan the social worker, I cried for the whole three hours. With each session things started to get easier and after such a sad time, he has helped me pull out all the good memories of my family.

It still hurts of course, but I am getting there and I want to move forward. One of the ways I’ll be doing this will be by remembering everyone I’ve lost this Christmas via the Hospice’s Light up a Life campaign. I’ll be dedicating a light on their virtual Christmas tree to each of my family members and writing a message to go with it.

I will be forever grateful to all the staff at the Hospice for the care and support they have given me and my family over the last thirty years. I really do not know how people would manage if they didn’t have the Hospice to turn to.