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A Confession From a Fundraiser

8 May 2017

Pam is part of our Corporate Fundraising Team here at the Hospice and its her job to gather business supporters but she’s taken some time out to share with us her story…

We just feel so lucky that mom was able to spend her final weeks here, we all felt so cared for

I’ve got a confession to make, when I took a part-time admin job at the Hospice 2 years ago, I just wanted to gain experience in fundraising, I didn’t really know too much about hospices or palliative care.  Three days in I was asked to take a donation from a family who’s mom had been treated in our inpatient unit, suddenly I realised I wasn’t just there to fill out a receipt book.

In the space of twenty minutes with that family, I became someone to confide in; a shoulder to cry on and someone to laugh with.  It was a kaleidoscope of emotions, all of which they felt comfortable sharing with me, a complete stranger, all because I wore a badge telling them I worked at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.

When they told me, “We just feel so lucky that mom was able to spend her final weeks here, we all felt so cared for” I realised the enormity of what hospices do, of the difference our care makes to not only the patients but their families. That was the day I became passionate about our little Hospice in Selly Park.

Since then I have become a full-time member of staff working in Corporate fundraising, I love it, but I can’t lie I find it challenging.  There are days when I feel frustrated and wonder if we are making any difference.  Luckily, with our offices being on site there is a constant reminder of the care that fundraising provides and plenty of inspiration to work harder.

However, the last 2 weeks my motivation has stepped up a notch, my morning routine has changed a little.  Instead of getting in, grabbing a cup of tea and reading my emails, I now get to the Hospice a little earlier each morning and head straight to the Ward. I am greeted by a group of happy, smiley nurses that certainly don’t give the impression they have been working all night.  I then spend time feeding my cousin his porridge.

Phil is my really annoying older cousin, he has a very dry sense of humour (which all the nurses have grown aware of!), and he was always first to wind me up when we were kids.  Just before Christmas he began suffering with headaches, problems with his vision and dizziness; his doctor treated him for Meniere’s disease.  Five weeks ago, his wife started to notice he was getting confused, so the doctor started to look at other possibilities. Within a week he was admitted to hospital with a brain tumour, a week on from that we were given the heartbreaking news that there was nothing that could be done.  We are now lucky enough to have him cared for at the Hospice.

 When I talk to companies about the amazing work the Hospice does, I am no longer relying on the stories of patients and donors, now I am experiencing it first-hand.  When he first arrived at the Hospice, he looked very poorly and we encouraged all family and friends to visit sooner rather than later.  By Monday morning, the change was huge; he was bright and cheerful, eating, drinking and causing trouble; as a staunch Wolves fan he is even moaning about having blue and white napkins, instead of gold and black!

The change is not only in Phil, it is apparent throughout our family. Julie, his wife, can now stay with him all day and even overnight if she wants, his young nieces are encouraged to visit, we all just feel reassured that Phil is happy and cared for.

I have always admired our clinical staff, they really are amazingly strong and they radiate warmth and compassion, but never have I really been so grateful for the catering staff, the facilities team and my own team in Fundraising, because together we make a difference; together we are Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and that makes me enormously proud.

Going back to doing my job, I’d just like to remind you that you can be a part of it all too – round up your colleagues to support our local Hospice and find out how you can fundraise at work to help us support more people like my cousin Phil.