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Family raises more than £31,000 for Birmingham Hospice in memory of their dad 

25 June 2024

A family from Sutton Coldfield has raised thousands for Birmingham Hospice, the charity that cared for their dad at the end of life. 

Paulie and Philip, along with eight of their friends, took on the 8.5-mile Royal Sutton Fun Run in June in memory of their dad, Paul.

Sharon and Paul at their home in 2022

Paul received care from the expert teams when he was referred to the hospice’s Inpatient Unit following a stroke as well as receiving treatment for dementia. 

“The hospice made his final days as comfortable and calm as possible, ensuring he left with dignity and at peace,” Philip said.

“They let us make a home for dad, and ensured he was as comfortable as possible. Dad left this life as he had lived it; peacefully, with dignity, and surrounded by love.”

Sharon, Paul’s wife, said the hospice cared for the whole family as well as Paul, which allowed her to feel like a wife again and make precious memories together during the time they had left. 

“As well as looking after Paul, they helped us process what was happening,” Sharon explained. “They showed us just as much compassion as they showed him.

“I had a preconceived idea of what a hospice was and so I wanted to keep Paul at home with me where I could look after him. I didn’t want him to go anywhere else – the hospital or the hospice.

“When the doctors told me Paul needed end of life care after suffering a large stroke, it was a total shock to me. I just presumed they would patch him up, and I’d bring him home.”

Paul spent some time in hospital, but it quickly became apparent that he was too poorly to go home. He was referred to Birmingham Hospice for specialist care and symptom management. 

The very same day a bed was secured for him in the hospice’s Inpatient Unit.

Sharon said she felt worried about Paul staying at the hospice and still felt like he needed to stay at home with her. However, the care provided made her change her mind completely. 

“The staff were so kind and caring, and not patronising at all,” she said. “They understood my worries and my anxieties. They let us make Paul comfortable and we stayed the night with him to think things over. 

“By the morning, my whole outlook had changed. I decided I wanted Paul to stay there. The care that was shown to not only Paul, but also me, in that short window of time was unbelievable. It was so respectful, and non-intrusive.”

Sharon and her sons Paulie and Philip were able to return home to collect items to make Paul’s room feel more homely. They collected blankets, flowers, photos of his grandchildren and his lamp. They even took their dog Alfie, who could sit with Paul on the bed.

“Our room looked out onto the garden – which was something we wouldn’t have experienced in hospital,” she added. 

“He had so many different visitors throughout his time in the hospice, and the staff were able to work around this and allow people who would not have been able to say goodbye otherwise, to come in and see him. Family, friends, nieces, children, even pets.

“They let the boys and I stay overnight with Paul so he was never alone.”

Sharon said that for her, the main thing the hospice provided was the chance to be Paul’s wife again. 

“I could hold his hand again and lie next to him. The nursing staff took over the caring – they made him clean and beautiful and gentle. 

“The boys got to spend quality time with their dad. They played music to him, read to him, and talked to. Friends and family could come at any time and spend as much time with him as they were able to. Some of his friends came and spoke Italian to him, and held his hand, and this was so important to him and to us.

“Everything was there for us – the staff were just as concerned with us as they were with the patients.

“Our lasting memory of the hospice is seeing Paul in his own room, with his photos and his blanket, and his boys reading to him while our dog laid on his lap. 

Post fun run (Paulie front row second from left, Phil top right.)

“Paul’s death was dignified, peaceful and respectful. To the boys, this was everything their father stood for. There was no panic, we didn’t have to worry, and our privacy was respected.”

Following their care experience with Birmingham Hospice, the family rallied together to take on the Royal Sutton Fun Run and raised an astounding £31,083.

Sharon said: “We were blessed with the most beautiful day. It was very emotional, but we truly believe what the hospice stands for: that dying is important. 

“We could never give back for the care Paul and our family received, so this was our way of saying thank you. We can’t thank our friends and family enough for the generous support they offered.

“We want to do more to make people aware of the great work that hospices do.

“I actually didn’t want to leave the hospice in the end. We left Paul like he was asleep. On our way out everyone was hugging us and giving us love. It meant so much to us.”

It costs £6,307 to provide round-the-clock palliative care for a patient staying in our Inpatient Units. This amazing total means that we can fund five whole days of our expert, specialist care. 

A huge well done to all involved in this amazing effort, we are so proud of you and incredibly grateful for your support.