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From biological sciences to corporate fundraising

15 April 2019

Meet Abi, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice’s corporate partnerships coordinator. Abi joined the Hospice team just 3 months ago but already in that time she has been busy networking with big-hearted professionals across the city, sent some of Birmingham’s biggest bosses to ‘jail’ in a fun corporate event, and even supported one professional during a charity head shave…

When I first graduated from the University of Reading back in July 2017, I had never imagined that I would end up seeking a career in the third sector. I always had an avid interest in charities and the work that they do, however, I never really considered it a career path for myself.

At university, I studied Biological Sciences with a mixture of Biomedical Science modules. Within this course, I learnt the causes, symptoms, progression and treatment of a whole consort of life-limiting illnesses. It’s easy to understand an illness when it is on paper but when you see its effects in real life, on friends, family members and loved ones, that is the moment it hits home.

After university I began working for a specialist recruitment firm based in the city centre where I recruited for the social housing sector. After a while I found that it wasn’t enough to just be making money for myself, I wanted to be making money for a cause I was passionate about. That’s what led me to look further afield and consider a role based in the third sector.

What drew me to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice was the fact that they do on-site research into the ailments associated with life-limiting illnesses, as well as go further afield into the exploration of these illnesses to see how we can adapt the care we provide to ensure it is the care that is needed.

Palliative care is an area which is least focussed on in terms of research and development of care and treatment. As a species, we are living longer and therefore the risk of us developing a life-limiting illness, whether that be a form of cancer or cardiovascular disease, is increased significantly so naturally it is an area that we should be focussing on more.

After being successful at interview and feeling a huge sigh of relief, I started with the Hospice in January and there the adventure began! I have had a whirlwind of an induction and had the opportunity to speak to or work with a range of teams at the Hospice to help me understand exactly how it works.

Like many of you who may read this blog, I never realised the reach of Birmingham St Mary’s or the range of individuals it looks after. A common misconception of the Hospice is that it is just for the older generation, however, in actual fact it provides care and support to anyone who is living with a life-limiting illness over the age of 18.

I attended my first networking event for the Hospice a couple of weeks ago and it was during this event that I realised the difference the Hospice can really make. I met a wonderful, young entrepreneur, Cian Hannon, who had recently started her own business. She shared with me her personal link with the Hospice and her experience with it:

“When we found out my grandad was ill and were given those words that every family dreads – ‘We’re so sorry but there’s nothing more we can do’ – we were so fearful of what was to come. As a family who had never had any experience of a hospice, we had only ever associated them with sadness and ‘the end’. We chose Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice because from the minute we met the staff, our preconceived ideas of what a hospice may be began disappearing.

“For the entire time my grandad was there, the staff did everything in their power to make sure this was not about dying but more about enjoying the life he had left. We cannot thank the incredible staff at Birmingham St Mary’s enough for the kind, caring and unfaultable treatment both my grandad and our family received. We are so grateful for the work that they all do and continue to do for our community”

Since I started working at the Hospice, I have attended a range of networking events and at each I have met at least one person who has been affected by the Hospice, whether directly or through a friend or family member.

Just in the last two months I have experienced someone losing a family member, the positivity and determination of our medical staff, the daily struggle and frustrations of being a fundraiser, a charity head shave, and my first corporate fundraising event. I can tell there is quite a challenge ahead for myself and the corporate fundraising team, however, I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received and I am excited to see what the future holds!

Thank you Abi for sharing your story with us. If you’re a big-hearted corporate who would like to support Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, you can find out more here or by dropping Abi an email.

Or, if you’ve been inspired by Abi’s story and would like to work here, find out more about our current vacancies here.