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Making Mark’s last Christmas a special one

17 November 2017

When Mark, age 37, was admitted to our Inpatient Unit just four days before Christmas, his family wanted to make sure that he could still get involved with all the fun and festivities of the season.

From waking up on Christmas Day with loved ones to seeing in the New Year with fireworks, Mark’s Mum, Lesley, tells us how Birmingham St Mary’s helped to make her son’s last Christmas, a special one.

It was three years ago when my son, Mark, was diagnosed with cancer to the appendix. Although the cancer was terminal, Mark always seemed fairly well but it was in December last year that his health suddenly became a lot worse.

Mark’s – and our family’s – first contact with Birmingham St Mary’s was when he was admitted to the Inpatient Unit on 21st December. It was an incredibly difficult time for us, especially with it being so close to Christmas but as soon as we got there, we were all made to feel very welcome. Of course, Christmas is a time for families to be together and the Hospice made sure that we got to spend quality time with Mark over the festive season.

On Christmas Eve, the whole family, including Mark’s wife, Kelli, and four-year-old son, Joseph, were able to enjoy a private celebration in the Hospice’s ‘Harry Moseley Family Centre’ – a homely suite of rooms in the Inpatient Unit. All the family were there, popping presents under the tree and enjoying food. Even Santa made a surprise appearance to share gifts with everyone, which was such a fantastic moment for Joseph!

Kelli and Joseph were even able to sleep over on Christmas Eve, which meant Mark could watch his son open presents on Christmas morning. That was a really special moment and it meant a lot that they could spend some quality time with each other on the big day.

When it came to the New Year, the staff made a real effort to help Mark celebrate. They brought round glasses of champagne for a toast at midnight and even turned Mark’s bed to face the window so he could watch the fireworks.

Just after the New Year, which was two weeks after Mark was first admitted to the Inpatient Unit, we received some great news – Mark was able to go home. Mark’s face lit up when he found out and he was so happy to be going home with Kelli and Joseph.

During Mark’s stay at the Hospice, the staff were absolutely fantastic. His main nurse, Karen, was just great – it was all the little things, such as taking the time to keep Mark company and do jigsaws with him that made his stay so much more comfortable They provided us all with kindness and dignity, and allowed Mark and our family to have a memorable last Christmas and New Year together.

Thank you Lesley for sharing your story with us. Lesley and her family recently took part in our ‘Enchanted Midsummer Night Walk’ to honour Mark’s memory, in which they raised an incredible £1,235 for our Hospice. To find out how you can support us, take a look here.