Even when Emma was told her cancer was incurable, she still remained positive and lived her life to the full. This year would have been Emma’s 40th birthday and so her mum, Stella, and her sister, Samantha, wanted to celebrate her memories in style by doing lots of different activities 40 times. Read their story below and discover what they’re getting up to celebrate Emma’s big birthday during the same year that the Hospice is also celebrating 40 years of care…
Emma was the most positive and upbeat person you could ever meet. She was always living life to the full and finding the silliness in everyday life – and she always encouraged us to do the same.
This year would have been Emma’s 40th birthday and so we wanted to do something that would celebrate her life. In true Emma style, we decided to do lots of fun and silly activities 40 times that all our friends and family could get involved in, like popping 40 party poppers, blowing out 40 candles, making 40 cakes and blowing 40 bubbles to just name a few!
These activities also meant that Emma’s two young children – who are now three and seven-years-old – could join in the fun and remember their mum’s birthday with love, affection and happiness. Emma was so full of life, so we wanted to do something which would give them a joyful and positive memory to carry forward.
We decided to turn our birthday fun into fundraising for the Hospice because of the wonderful care they gave to Emma and our family before she passed away. In March 2016, Emma was diagnosed with an incurable cancer and it was only six months later before she passed away.
Emma spent the last three weeks of her life at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and I will always appreciate the warm and compassionate care they gave to us. Emma stayed in the ‘Family Centre’ which had its own kitchen and living area, as well as a spare bedroom so Emma’s husband and children could sleep over. I know how important it was to Emma and her family that they could wake up together in the mornings.
Emma had lots of friends and so I was really grateful that the Hospice were so accommodating to her numerous visitors. Not once did anything feel like too much hassle. Whilst Emma was at the Hospice, it was her youngest daughter’s 1st birthday and so the nurses encouraged us to hold a party in the garden – that was a really special day and that small gesture meant so much to our family.
It was because of this wonderful care that we started fundraising for the Hospice. We’ve had such a laugh doing 40 fun things to honour Emma’s memories and I can’t believe how many people have wanted to get involved. It’s good to do something that everyone can take part in – all we ask is that they make a donation after they’ve done their activity. For those that haven’t been able to take part, we’ve had lots of fun making silly videos to share with them. It’s really brought everyone together to celebrate Emma’s life.
Before our family used the services of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, we had no idea that it was a charity. We just assumed it was NHS run and so we were surprised to hear that over 60% of its funds were raised through charitable donations. The Hospice provides such a welcoming and homely environment which doesn’t feel like a hospital at all and we were so lucky that Emma was able to spend her last days there – so we know how vital its services will be to other families like ours.
The fact that the Hospice is also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year just makes our fundraising even more poignant. Emma always lived life to the full and the Hospice helped her to carry on doing that – and so it’s great to be able to give something back during this special anniversary year.
Thank you Stella and Samantha for sharing your story with us. Have you been inspired to fundraise for the Hospice during our special 40th anniversary? If so, sign up to your free fundraising pack which has some fun ideas and handy tips.