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Smiling, Laughing, Chuckling, Giggling – PERMITTED By order of the King

18 September 2016

My mission is for all of our business supporters to have an insight into life here at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. So over the next year, I’ll be blogging about my experiences as we reach out to more corporate supporters to raise awareness of the great work happening here.

I have been really struck by people’s reactions when I mention I work at Birmingham St Mary’s.  People respond with ‘that must be such a sad place’ and hushed replies of ‘that’s a tough job’. Admittedly, this is before they find out that I’m a fundraiser and not a clinician, but still, their reactions got me thinking about Hospice myths, and the reality of day to day life at a Hospice.

Myth one: Hospices are a sad place

In a meeting a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t help but notice the mugs around the table.

One of our Doctors brought this mug to our meeting…

Then as I started to look more closely, mugs with light-hearted phrases were everywhere…

When you walk into the Hospice you aren’t hit by a sombre mood and silence. More often than not you are greeted with the smell of fresh flowers, bright colours and the beautiful memory tree. Doctors and nurses discreetly look after patients, and always with a smile.

Myth two: We care for the elderly population only

Not always. The team at Venn Group have recently taken on two challenges in memory of Leanne, a colleague, dearly beloved friend and girlfriend. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour aged 25 years and passed away at Birmingham St Mary’s.

When reading their story, I was touched by the words of her boyfriend, as he articulated the pain of losing someone so loved and treasured, who was in her twenties.

This is the team getting ready for a Coast to Coast cycle in her memory…

Myth three: Hospices are about death

On a beautiful summer’s day recently I walked past our Day Hospice terrace. There was a couple of patients chatting away – and I caught a small part of their conversation, one saying to the other ‘I’ve come in my slippers today’.

They both looked comfortable and happy sitting in the sunshine, proof for me that the Hospice is about living in the best way possible with a terminal illness, and not about death.

To find out more about how you can support our work here at Birmingham St Mary’s, visit and help us provide hospice care for all!