A Stafford-based hospice is giving an insight into what Christmas is like for patients by sharing Marie’s story and asking for support to help them continue caring for others.

Marie with family outside at Katharine House Hospice on Christmas Day - Luke, Charlie, Angela, Aubrey, Mavis, Sophie, Lucy and Marie on her bed

Last year, Katharine House Hospice helped Marie Williams, from Stafford, who was given an incurable cancer diagnosis at the age of 48.

She was one of the almost 2,100 patients and families they helped last year and as a
charity they rely on the community to help generate 2/3 of the funds needed, £3.7m
each year, to continue offering vital free care.

Director of Care David Fletcher met Marie and her family and is calling for the
community to support the charity by getting involved in their Light Up A Life appeal,
which sees their Christmas tree lights sponsored in memory of loved ones.
Marie’s family are no strangers to the appeal, having taken part before in memory of
Marie’s mother who was also cared for by Katharine House Hospice.
Here they speak about the difference the charity’s care made to them at such a
difficult time.

Marie’s daughter Angela explains: “Mum’s wish was to go to Katharine House
Hospice and what a decision... mum was where she wanted to be.
“We will forever be in their debt that we called and were given a bed just a few days
later, it was fantastic."

“Staff were so, so accommodating and really lovely, wonderful people.
“We decorated the room and it was amazing to see how comfortable mum was. The
nurses managed to get a Christmas tree and allowed us to bring flowers, fairy lights,
pictures from home and more. Christmas day was perfect."
“Mum even got her wish to go outside after sourcing some extension cables and
transferring her into a different room with double doors so they could wheel her bed

“Staff also came in regularly to see if there was anything they could do, not only for
mum but for us as family."

“And Director of Care, David Fletcher, visited on Christmas day asking whether there
was anything he could do to make the day better or any of us more comfortable."

“It was absolutely fantastic, and mum enjoyed reflexology and massage while there.
“Visiting hours are pretty much 24/7 and mum’s best friend Nick was even allowed to
work from the hospice so he could visit her more."

“I am so very grateful for the staff at Katharine House and their support. Nothing is
too much trouble and they show so much compassion."
“Katharine House Hospice has made a massive difference to us, huge.
“You can see the staff do the job for the love of the patients; the care was
impeccable and dignified."

“Being there took a lot of the burden from us, we didn’t have to worry about anything
and could just spend the last few days enjoying our time with her.
“Thank you Katharine House, you are angels in a uniform!”

Speaking about the charity’s Light Up A Life appeal, David Fletcher said: “My team
and I know how difficult this time of year can be without the ones we cherish most.
Our grief doesn’t diminish but we can grow around it to remember our loved ones,
and the time we spent with them, with fondness."
“Many people have already dedicated a light and the deadline to be included in the
Book of Lights ahead of our service is 1 December." 
“Your donations will help us continue providing our vital care services to local people
and their families who may be spending their last Christmas together.”

Angela now is trying to dispel misconceptions surrounding hospices and encourage
other families to contact them sooner.
“The work the charity does is extraordinary, everyone is so thankful for the support
they gave mum."
"There are so many services from the start of a palliative diagnosis, you'd be
surprised at what the charity offers."
“They get to know you and it is like a home and very much a big family, it is a really,
really special place.”

Katharine House Hospice aims to enable patients with life limiting conditions to live
life as fully as possible and make the most of the time that they have, as well as
supporting their loved ones.
Their care is free and provided where and when it is needed most – in the
community, at home, or at our hospice.

To find out more about Light up a Life, call the fundraising team on 01785 270808 or
visit www.khhospice.org.uk, where you can also sponsor a light online and add your
loved one’s name, a message and an image to their virtual tree.

Picture: Meredith, Marie, Aubrey (her grandchildren)

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