Family thanks hospice for care given to mother in final days
A Stafford-based hospice have given an insight into what Christmas is like for patients by sharing one patient's story.
In 2022, Katharine House Hospice helped Marie Williams from Stafford, who was given an incurable cancer diagnosis at the age of 48.
She was one of the almost 2,100 patients and families it helped last year and, as a charity, it relies on the community to help generate two thirds of the funds needed - £3.7 million each year - to continue offering vital free care.
Director of care David Fletcher met Marie and her family and is calling for the community to support the charity by getting involved in their Light Up A Life appeal, which sees its Christmas tree lights sponsored in memory of loved ones.
Her family are no strangers to the appeal, having taken part before in memory of Marie’s mother who was also cared for by Katharine House Hospice .
Marie was cared for by the hospice before her death on December 27, having spent nine days there.
Marie’s daughter, Angela, said: “Mum’s wish was to go to Katharine House Hospice and what a decision, as Mum was where she wanted to be.
“We will forever be in their debt that we called and were given a bed just a few days later, it was fantastic.
“Staff were so, so accommodating and really lovely, wonderful people.
“We decorated the room and it was amazing to see how comfortable Mum was. The nurses managed to get a Christmas tree and allowed us to bring flowers, fairy lights, pictures from home and more. Christmas Day was perfect."
Angela added: “Mum even got her wish to go outside after sourcing some extension cables and transferring her into a different room with double doors so they could wheel her bed outside.
“Staff also came in regularly to see if there was anything they could do, not only for Mum but for us as family.
“And director of care David Fletcher visited on Christmas Day, asking whether there was anything he could do to make the day better or any of us more comfortable.
“It was absolutely fantastic, and Mum enjoyed reflexology and massage while there.
“Visiting hours are pretty much 24/7 and Mum’s best friend, Nick, was even allowed to work from the hospice so he could visit her more.
“I am so very grateful for the staff at Katharine House and their support. Nothing is too much trouble and they show so much compassion."
Speaking about the charity’s Light Up A Life appeal, Mr Fletcher said: “My team and I know how difficult this time of year can be without the ones we cherish most.
"Our grief doesn’t diminish but we can grow around it to remember our loved ones, and the time we spent with them, with fondness.
“Many people have already dedicated a light and the deadline to be included in the Book of Lights ahead of our service is 1 December.
“Your donations will help us continue providing our vital care services to local people and their families who may be spending their last Christmas together.”
Katharine House Hospice aims to enable patients with life limiting conditions to live life as fully as possible and make the most of the time that they have, as well as supporting their loved ones.
To find out more about Light up a Life, call the fundraising team on 01785 270808 or go to khhospice.org.uk