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Why Vicky is part of our Above and Beyond Club

2 July 2024

Vicky Hadley, fundraiser and Above and Beyond Club member, shares the difference Birmingham Hospice made to her and her husband, Mark, during their final moments together.

Vicky and Mark

At just 30, cancer cruelly took away my soul mate and the future we’d dreamed of together. I was heartbroken. Mark and I were typical childhood sweethearts. We fell in love when I was just 14, we got engaged in our 20s and bought our first home together. Everything was perfect and I could not have been happier. We made so many plans together.

Then we were told he had incurable bowel cancer and peritoneal disease, and that he would live for less than a year. It was the worst day of my life; we had plans, hopes and dreams. I didn’t want to imagine my life without him. I didn’t want to think about what we were about to go through together. How could our story end like this?

The staff at Birmingham Hospice gave us the courage to live again.

Mary, our nurse, would visit Mark at home as his cancer progressed. She provided Mark with the expert medical care he needed, but what I’ll always be truly grateful for is her understanding.

Mark and Vicky on their wedding day

But the most precious gift they gave us was the courage to live. They suggested that we wrote down a list of things he wanted to do before he died and gave us the confidence to make those dreams a reality. We flew to New York for one final time, a city which we both loved, and the hospice organised for Mark to watch an Aston Villa game from a corporate box.

Mary cared for me too and made those dark days lighter. She was a supportive hand, helping to guide us through this heartbreaking journey. Mary wasn’t the only one. Everyone at Birmingham Hospice helped us to be strong throughout Mark’s illness.

Most importantly we had our precious wedding day, where all our friends and family came together in celebration. We had been together for over ten years so his terminal diagnosis wasn’t going to stop us from saying our vows to each other. Although the day was filled with so much joy, there was also pain as we both knew we wouldn’t be growing old together

From the wedding we went on our honeymoon. However, after only two days away, Mark fell seriously ill. At a time when we were supposed to be planning the rest of our lives together, we had no choice but to catch a flight home where we both knew it was time to say goodbye.

Knowing that he didn’t have much time, Mark asked to go to into the hospice.

It was here, surrounded by those he loved, that he passed away peacefully just four weeks later. We made the most of every moment together and those special memories help to provide comfort at difficult times. When I felt I couldn’t cope with such a loss, Birmingham Hospice was there for me. I was offered bereavement counselling sessions and even now I can pick up the phone and speak to someone if I need to. Birmingham Hospice is an incredible charity.

I know first-hand the difference their service makes in the most unbearable times. Without them I don’t know how I would have managed.

Over the last 17 years since Mark’s passing, I have proudly fundraised and worked as a volunteer for Birmingham Hospice. I’m now the face of my own business ‘Keystone Virtual Assistance’. As part of my role, I network with like-minded businesses who need additional support in the day-to-day running of their business.

I am very excited to be part of the Above and Beyond Club.

I have experienced the care and support Birmingham Hospice brings to so many local people and their families. I’m committed to supporting them and encourage more businesses to get involved and join me.

Vicky Hadley, ABC member.

Join our Above and Beyond Club today.