Here at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, fundraising plays a huge role in helping us to support patients and families living with life-limiting illnesses.
Meet Becky, who is taking part in this year’s Let’s Danceathon to raise money for the Hospice. Both of Becky’s parents spent their final days in our care and here she tells their story…
We first came in to contact with Birmingham St Mary’s in 2003; my Mum was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and had only months to live. The Hospice initially offered her respite care which was a huge help as she had 3 children; my brother was 14, my sister was 17 and I was 18. My Mum was a kind, considerate and caring lady who consistently put others before herself. She was a total matriarch and mothered everyone who she came in to contact with.
When it came to the last days of my Mum’s life, she had decided that she wanted to go to Birmingham St Mary’s. We were lucky enough to be able to stay in the family room with her; we had a kitchen and a living room which made our time at the Hospice feel closer to normal than we ever could have hoped.
In 2018, my Dad was also diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer, and because of our previous experience with the Hospice it was obvious to us that it would be the place where he would choose to spend the final days of his life.
Again, we were fortunate we could stay in the Harry Moseley Family Centre and have some semblance of normality. We watched our last football match as a family together and made more memories with him in the last week of his life. His favourite days were always those spent with his family and so we were lucky he could have this time right up to his last moments.
The Hospice enabled us to create happy memories during the final days of my parents’ lives. Both passed away peacefully with their wishes respected and the Hospice gave us the peace of mind that they were being treated in the best way possible.
There are no words to describe the care that we received at Birmingham St Mary’s. Every staff member was kind, considerate and compassionate; from the kitchen staff to the doctors and nurses, every person that we came in to contact with was genuinely sympathetic to our situation. In my Dad’s final minutes, the staff provided the ultimate reassurance that he was at peace; during a time where I felt completely lost, their kind words continued to bring comfort to me. The staff are truly angels and the most kind-hearted people that you could ever wish to meet.
I thought that the Hospice would be a sad, depressing, clinical place to be. I assumed that it would be similar to a hospital but instead it was a place full of love, warmth, compassion and thoughtfulness. I didn’t think it would be possible to feel happy at such an awful time, but it was; we laughed and made memories that will last forever.
This is why we’re taking part in Let’s Danceathon, and because my Mum and Dad adored music. They held many legendary parties at their house and my Dad in particular loved seeing all types of live music. So I’m sure they’d love the idea of us dancing for 6 hours to raise important funds for the Hospice!
The work of Birmingham St Mary’s should never be underestimated. I intend to continue raising funds in the hope that others can experience the care we did, rather than the clinical situation that others find themselves in. No amount of money we raise could ever repay the staff at the Hospice for the care that we received, but we will continue to do our best to raise as much money as possible.
Thank you, Becky, for sharing your story with us! It’s because of fantastic fundraisers like you that the Hospice is able to continue its vital work.
If you’ve been inspired to join Becky for Let’s Danceathon, you can sign up here!