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Christmas appeal

Help support local families this Christmas

For some patients at Prospect Hospice, this Christmas may be their last. Could you please help us to give them the best Christmas possible?

Your gift today can provide vital care for local people at Prospect Hospice.

While many people stop to enjoy the Christmas celebrations, Prospect Hospice continues to provide care around the clock, even at Christmas, for those who need our support. Please, will you help more local people, by supporting this vital service?

 

Christine's story - Told by her husband Clarry

What was my wife Christine like? Well, how long have you got?!

She was loyal and funny; she had the most ridiculous laugh – which I’d compare to Sid James. And she loved to laugh – loved life, loved shoes. She loved a cruise – even though she was the world’s worst sailor; she’d have to lie down when the ship moved, but like everything in her life, she never wanted to let anything defeat her. We both loved music too; our voices blended well. I have so many happy memories of creating music together.

But about ten years ago, she started to feel poorly.

The doctors thought she might have pneumonia, but she was later diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called GPA. Christine had chemotherapy, then brain surgery. She just got through it, brave and strong.

Five years on, we were just about to go on holiday when Christine said her stomach was hurting. Tragically, we were then delivered another huge blow: it was bowel cancer.

That’s when we were referred to Prospect Hospice. My sister died there many years ago, but I hadn’t thought about it much since. We were put in touch with a lovely community nurse called Hayley who we could always call on; she’d arrive and just help us through things and when Christine needed some respite care, she spent time in the hospice. That’s when she said to me, ‘This is where I want to die.’ When Christine’s oncologist told us that she wouldn’t make Christmas, it was absolutely devastating.

So, we decided to bring Christmas forward – to October! I remember the most difficult thing was sourcing a turkey; the butchers looked at me as if I were mad! But we had a lovely family Christmas, with our son Danny and daughter Abby, and everyone we love. Christine played charades till late into the night; tired, but so happy.

In the final weeks of her life, Christine was lucky to have a bed at the hospice. It was December so she sent me into the loft to bring down her favourite ornaments – her snowman and a dancing Christmas tree the grandchildren loved. ‘Christine’s Grotto’ was so full of Christmas spirit, and when the snow fell, the children and grandchildren made a little snowman she could see from her bed.

One day, one of the doctors appeared in Christine’s room. ‘Right,’ she said to Abby, ‘Let’s sing for your mum!’. They sang ‘Silent Night’ – the most beautiful version I’ve ever heard. Christine was very drowsy, but she opened her eyes, smiled; I will never forget that experience.

When the time grew near, they brought in a bed so I could stay beside her, care for her. There was such great respect from everyone – she was treated as a person, with thoughts and choices. We never felt she was suffering. And in the end, it was a gift that she managed one last Christmas with us, even though she didn’t quite make it to 25 December.

After Christine died, I kept thinking ‘What do I do now to cope with my loss?’. A few years back, I’d written a song – ‘Christmas ( The Way it’s Meant to Be)’ and I had an idea to rewrite it in tribute to Christine. Abby and I performed this version at last year’s Light up a Life service and afterwards, so many people shared their own stories of loss with us. It’s beautiful to know that Christine’s spirit still moves through the song.

We’re hoping more people will listen this year – and that our story shows just how important the hospice is to families like ours – and our beautiful, brave Christine.

Please give a gift, if you can, to help pay for the wonderful care for families who’ll need Prospect Hospice at this most special time of year.

Clarry

 

Christmas appeal - single donation

Thank you to our supporters

The care we offer to patients and their families costs around £9m every year – and 72% of this is raised through the support of our community. Read more about our amazing supporters.

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