We provide Hospice care & support to patients and their loved ones living in Kent and East Sussex. Discover how we can help you.
“My dad was a funny guy and very caring. He was a teaching assistant and loved helping kids who were struggling. He knew everybody, was warm, kind-hearted, and cared about his family greatly. Dad was active, always running and loved football. He supported QPR along with our whole family and refereed for local football clubs.
“When dad found out his cancer was terminal, he focused on making memories for all of us.”
Thanks to support from his colleagues, he took Mum to Jersey, my brother Chris to Tenerife on a lads’ holiday and me to Disneyland. Disneyland will always be special to me. In January it’s quite empty, and Dad told everyone why we were there so they let us go round and round on rides.
The summer before he died, the family gathered at a beach cottage in Wales. There was a rope swing in the garden that my cousins and I played on. We loved every day. We went crabbing, ate ice creams and my uncles played guitars and banjos. There was a cliff walk but Dad wasn’t really strong enough to get up it by himself. The illness had made him quite weak – realising this was a big moment for me. But Dad kept going – empowered by having his family around him.
“It was hard at times but because we could all talk about it openly, it made it a lot easier.”
As Dad became more poorly, the Hospice helped us more and more. I visited him nearly every day after school, spending time in the family room and getting to know the nurses. I remember walking him round the peaceful gardens. It was like a second home, it wasn’t scary. I used to crawl into bed with Dad and we’d watch trash tv together.
A few years after Dad died, I went back to the Hospice for counselling. It was only then I realised how important fundraising is. My counselling and all the care provided to Dad, was made possible by all the donations people make.
“It’s important to me that I keep fundraising because I realise the Hospice doesn’t just look after patients, they also looked after me and my family.”
I’ve produced a play in memory of Dad. He ran a lot of marathons, Chris ran a marathon in his memory. That’s the basis; the character, based on Chris, is running and looking back at moments in his life. It’s a journey of what it was like for Dad at the Hospice and how they helped us. About dealing with loss and the almost toxic issues of how young men are supposed to grieve.
My brother was 19 years old when Dad died and helped care for him in his last year. Chris looked after me too, taking me to school, making me dinner, taking me to the movies. We still call it; ‘Brother and Sister time’. He put his late teenage time on hold and really was that father figure to me.
At my first parents’ evening without Dad, Mum and Chris went instead. It was a big moment. That’s when I realised how much Chris was doing for me. He’s still my best friend – he’s my entire world and his amazing strength is such an inspiration.”
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