Ann is one of our Day Hospice patients, and enjoyed taking part in the 12-week therapeutic programme over the Christmas period last year. Here, she talks about her favourite Christmas traditions and how coming to the Hospice helps her to enjoy Christmas alongside her life-limiting illness…

I have been coming to the Day Hospice for over a year now, and it really has helped me and my family. When I first joined, it changed me, it made me feel happier and I could talk to people. Coming here brought me out of my shell, the staff, as well as the other visitors in the Day Hospice, really helped me to feel a lot better.

I love coming to the Welcome Group at the Hospice each Wednesday, to chat with others who are facing the same difficulties and having similar worries to my own. We’re like a big family sharing the same experiences and supporting one another through the good days and the bad.

Everyone here at the Hospice is in a similar boat to you, and we have a laugh – it’s not all sad! I feel blessed that I am still able to attend the Welcome Group and am looking forward to getting into the festive spirit again this year.

Christmas is my favourite time of the year, because everyone is so happy and in good spirits. I normally can’t wait to put up my Christmas tree as it changes everything, so it normally goes up in the first week of December!

When I was younger, I always got new pyjamas on Christmas Eve and my favourite set were fluffy and they came with big fluffy slippers. I did the same with my own children and now that they’re all grown up, they do it with my grandchildren!

And each year we go to my daughter’s for Christmas and she cooks up a huge Christmas feast with turkey, beef, roast potatoes, mash, yorkshire puddings, gravy and veg (although it’s the only day of the year that the children don’t have to eat their vegetables).

We sometimes play some board games together, which I love because I’m pretty hot on the telly and logo games – perks of being on this planet a long time!

Every Christmas, I’m blessed that I’m here, so I make the most of it and take it for what it is.

When you get an illness it completely changes the way you perceive things and the way that you think. Your life is never really the same again.  You learn to live every day like it’s the last. You go to sleep, you wake up, and you think I’m here, I’m awake, I’m alive. So I say, go on holidays, go out, and spend time with the people that you love.

We couldn’t think of a more perfect message for this time of year – thank you for sharing your story with us Ann.

If you’d like to help us support more people like Ann, you can make a donation to our Hospice by clicking here.

To find out more about our Day Hospice or the 12-week therapeutic programme, please visit www.birminghamhospice.org.uk/coming-here