Back in July 2014, my husband John was diagnosed with Lung Cancer he was treated at The Christie Hospital, Manchester. The hospital offered him the latest treatments and trials available and John accepted everything with the hope it would stall his illness. His response was always “lets give it a go, if it doesn’t help me, then it might help someone in the future”.
John was discharged from Christies, back into the care of our GP and was then referred to Bury Hospice for palliative care, the Home Team came to visit.
Three nurses visited weekly, they watched, listened, advised and monitored not only John, but our whole family. They always put us at ease and supported us through some incredibly difficult times. After only a few weeks at home we reached crisis point, John was offered a bed at the hospice, just for a short while, to manage his symptoms. We took a very, very poorly man in to the Hospice and 2 weeks later brought him home, still poorly but in a much better physical and mental place. We had a further 7 weeks together at home with the ongoing support of Bury Hospice.
Fifteen months after being diagnosed, on October 21st 2015 a bed became available, John was admitted to the Hospice and he spent just 18 hours in their care. As soon as we arrived it felt like someone had wrapped us in a big fluffy blanket, they took over completely and for me it allowed me to go back to being John’s wife and not his carer or nurse. The Hospice Nurses, dedicated to their patients are truly walking angels.
One of John’s first questions to the Nurses was “How many beds are open this week?” Their reply was always the same, 6. 12 rooms are fully kitted with medical equipment but at that time only 6 of the rooms had beds in them and there was only enough money to pay for nurses and doctors to staff those 6 rooms and not all 12.
John’s last wish, was that as a family we continued to support the hospice and raise the much needed funds to open up all 12 rooms, with beds and medical care staff, so that other families could access this wonderful facility and be cared for with the dignity they deserve.
6 months after losing John I signed up as a volunteer, starting out by helping in the kitchen 1 day a week. However, my passion is really in events; I enjoy organising, planning and delivering activities that people enjoy. About the same time as I started volunteering, I also took up Ballroom Dancing, a hobby I had done previously as a teenager. Dancing and volunteering enabled me to smile again, suddenly I felt useful, needed and valued.
I watched the dance school I attend plan a dancing event for another hospice, inspired as I watched their progress, I decided to propose a similar event for Bury Hospice, and our “Strictly Best Foot Forward” Baby was born in May 2017.
This yearly dance competition is now the flag ship fundraising event for Bury Hospice and in the 3 years since its conception, we have raised over £150K. It’s a bit of a phenomenon how this event has grown and how much support all our contestants gather along their journey. They all say that being part of the event, is one of the best things they have ever done. We can all be very proud that we have helped to enable the hospice to open 2 more beds; now with 8 in total, we only have 4 more to fund and we will have achieved our goal.
Bury Hospice costs £2.5 million and we only receive 24% from the government, which means we have to raise over £2 million from our fundraising efforts.
£7k a day is the cost of running the hospice with 8 beds open.
Every penny that we raise goes towards caring for the people of Bury, there is on average 4 families waiting to access the Hospices’ care at any one time.
In these troubled times, for everyone from every walk of life, we must stay positive. My vision for Bury Hospice is that we can continue to deliver the specialist care to the people of Bury who have a life limiting condition with the dignity and compassion they deserve.
The Hospice values are Patient Centred, Community Focussed, enabling and inclusive.
The mission is to engage with our communities to shape, deliver and fund inclusive and clinically excellent services.
The Future – I will continue to plan for and support the “Strictly” flagship event with the help of a fantastic team of people, contestants, dance teachers, events co-ordinators and volunteers. As we all face a difficult few months we will endeavour to make ‘Strictly 2020’ bigger and better and watch this space for “Strictly Best Foot Forward 2021” when it will also be the 30th Anniversary year for Bury Hospice, it’s going to be a Fab-u-lous event.