Daughter backs Christmas appeal in show of support for ‘incredible’ hospice

Stephanie Bloxham, 34, has spoken of the kindness her family received from Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice, as she backs an appeal to fund care services on Christmas Day.

The Gift a Christmas campaign hopes to raise £15,000 – enough to fund hospice running costs on 25th December. Stephanie, from Sutton Coldfield, is lending her support to the festive fundraising appeal to say thank you for the comfort John Taylor staff brought to her father Peter.

Stephanie was only 16 years old when her father, Peter Bloxham, was diagnosed with lung cancer after discovering a lump in his neck. Following the devastating news that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes Peter, a registrar at Birmingham Register Office, was referred to John Taylor Hospice in Erdington for palliative care and practical support.

Peter Bloxham with children Mark, Andrew and Stephanie

Peter Bloxham with children Mark, Andrew and Stephanie

Stephanie explains: “He received hospice care at home and was also an in-patient several times including at Christmas in 1999. The hospice staff were incredible and they made a very difficult time as bearable as possible.”

Dad-of-three Peter died at John Taylor Hospice surrounded by his family in April 2000, aged 42. “Dad was an amazing man, so lovely, friendly, kind and caring,” said Stephanie, a Development Worker with Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC). “He was always cheerful and fun. We shared many special memories and our Christmases together were always wonderful. He was devoted to his family and had a really big heart.

“We’ll always be grateful to John Taylor Hospice as they were fantastic, especially in the last few days. They were so understanding, very supportive and caring. They always ensured Dad was looked after and made as comfortable as possible. Nothing was ever too much trouble – they’re fantastic people and that’s why I’m supporting the Gift a Christmas campaign.”

Earlier this year, Stephanie and her brothers Mark, 39, and Andrew, 36, raised an impressive £2,536 for the hospice by hosting a fundraising birthday party to commemorate what would have been their dad’s 60th birthday.

“We’ll continue to support the hospice as much as possible,” added Stephanie. “We want to make sure other families, just like ours, are able to receive this excellent care and emotional support at a time when they need it most. I really hope in sharing our story people can see what an incredible difference the hospice makes in our community and choose to get behind the Gift a Christmas appeal.”

Kerry McGrath, Community Fundraising Manager at John Taylor, said: “Christmas is a special time for many people and, just like we do every day of the year, we help make every moment matter for families. Our care is free to people who need it but it costs £15,000 a day to provide these services. That’s why we rely so much upon the kindness and generosity of wonderful supporters like Stephanie and her family.

“We’ve set up a Gift a Christmas JustGiving page where people can make a donation and leave a message. We understand that the festive season is an expensive time but any amount people can afford to donate will make a lasting difference to those living with a terminal illness and their families.”     

To donate to the John Taylor Hospice Gift a Christmas appeal visit www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/john-taylor-hospice/christmas