John Taylor Hospice in Birmingham is asking local communities to get behind its festive appeal to raise £15,000 – enough to fund running costs at the hospice on Christmas Day.
The hospice has been at the heart of communities for over 100 years, caring for generations of families. Today more than 600 people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones will receive the care they need from John Taylor teams.
Showing his support for the Gift a Christmas campaign is Peter Knight from Birmingham. For Peter, having John Taylor’s Hospice at Home Team on hand made all the difference when he was caring for his wife Ann, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2012. Despite intensive rounds of chemotherapy the cancer spread and in September 2013 the family was told her condition was palliative. The couple were heartbroken but determined to be together, with Ann remaining in their Tile Cross home through the duration of her life.
“Everybody loved Ann,” says Peter. “She was kind and considerate and never spoke a bad word about anybody. She was very gentle but also very strong.”
That strength was what made Ann determined to make the best of her last few months. “I was doing everything for her but by this time I realised I needed help,” says 66-year-old Peter. “So the district nurses referred Ann to John Taylor Hospice.
“They came every day and did whatever she wanted them to do. They might give her a bed bath or a flannel, they might wash her hair. Sometimes they might just sit and talk to her. It was whatever she was up for that day. And when I say every day I mean every day – even Christmas Day. The Hospice at Home Team did so much for Ann and she really looked forward to them coming to visit. They became friends.”
With the support of the district nurses and the Hospice at Home team, Ann’s wish to die peacefully at home was fulfilled in February 2014. Peter, a retired company director, was so keen to support other families that he is now a volunteer photographer with the hospice and supports staff at events such as Light up a Life.
“I don’t know how we would have managed without them and now I feel I need to pass on to others the help that we had,” adds Peter. “I would encourage people to show their support for the Gift a Christmas campaign as I know just how compassionate and caring the hospice staff are and what a difference they make for the families they care for.”
The hospice is now inviting everyone, not just those touched by hospice care, to join the Gift a Christmas campaign and help make a huge difference for local families.
“Every moment matters here at John Taylor Hospice and our patients are at the heart of everything we do,” explains Darren Dudley, Community Fundraising Manager at the hospice.
“We do everything we can to make sure the festive season is an extra special time packed full of fun, entertainment and laughter. If patients are unable to spend Christmas at home then we bring it here to the hospice and help families to create precious memories they can cherish. Patients and their loved ones are welcomed as if they are part of our family and our home is their home.
“Our services are free to those who need them but it costs £15,000 every day to provide this care. We’d be really grateful for your support as together we can help ensure we’re there for families when they need us most – now and in the future.”
To find out how you can support the John Taylor Hospice Gift a Christmas campaign visit www.johntaylorhospice.org.uk/christmasgift