Spotlight on Leanne Jones and Kristy Maughan: Knocking it out of the park for It’s a Knockout, 2019 #fun #hospiceheroes #fundraising #familysupport #caring #support #thankyou

Leanne and Kristy 6        Leanne and Kristy 4

BOOOOOOMMMMM!

Leanne Jones (l) and Kristy Maughan (r) have arrived at Wirral Hospice St John’s to tell me how motivated they are for the annual It’s a Knockout event at New Brighton Dips on Sunday 21st July.

They’ve arrived with a friend and colleague Don Hazlehurst, from the DWP offices in Birkenhead, and they’re eager to tell me how much they’re looking forward to embarking on the fun-filled obstacle course to raise money for the hospice and, also quite important to them, very important, REALLY important, they’re going all out to WIN!

There’s a competitive streak alright as they recount their victory of a couple of years ago, only to be judged as 3rd in last year’s reprisal. Ooohh, it hurts, I can tell you, and they’re determined to make up for it this year.Leanne and Kristy 8

It’s all in good fun. Well, they really (no, really) do want to win, but they also know that, most importantly, the funds they raise go to Wirral Hospice St John’s, which they so clearly adore.

I start by asking Leanne why the hospice means so much to her. She’s had an affinity with us for over ten years now. Her Dad, Gary, was only 46 when he passed away here with oesophageal cancer here in 2009. He’d been at the hospice in two periods for help with pain management and with his breathing.

“The hospice couldn’t have done more for us. The care was absolutely excellent and all of the staff and volunteers were so nice to me, my sister, Louise, brother, Michael and my mum, Sue. After Dad passed my Mum found the bereavement counselling so beneficial and it really helped with our loss and explaining it to the younger children and grandchildren.”

Leanne and Kristy 2Don, who is here to support Leanne and Kristy, actually got to meet Leanne’s dad through working with Leanne and became good friends with him. He was keen to support Leanne and the team and was in the team that finished third last year, (come on, it’s a bronze medal!) 

Kristy – don’t dare spell it Kirsty! – is on another plain of competitiveness again! She’s so worried about the will to win in her family that she is humming and hawing about allowing her 8 year old son, Theo, to enter the junior It’s a Knockout on the day.

“He’s worse than me, he’ll just take over. He’ll be ordering the other kids about. It may be next year for him.”

Kristy’s Dad, Les, was also treated at Wirral Hospice St John’s. Les was a big man, six feet two and had been a landscape gardener. Bowel cancer was his condition and, like so many families, they chose to focus positively on living as well as possible for his whole life.

Les was known as Goggog to Theo, (who hadn’t quite got his pronunciation around ‘grandad’ as a baby) and his big sister, Tia. He died at age 55 and left a massive gap for the whole family Kristy, her brothers Tim and Craig, her Mum Lorraine and Les’s Mum, Kristy’s nan, Flo.

“I remember people at the hospice, including families who were also with their loved ones, forming a mini-community. The staff and volunteers were really lovely. Mum and I had bereavement counselling which I know helped Mum and helped me personally, giving me strategies to explain Dad’s passing to my children.”

Leanne and Kristy support the hospice in many ways throughout the year. They support our Summer Memories campaign by buying a commemorative flower every year and also Light Up a Life around Christmas time.

Right now, I think we’re beginning to understand,  they’re looking forward, in a big way, to It’s a knockout!

The DWP staff see it as a team bonding exercise for those who take part and all their colleagues who sponsor them and come down on the day to support them.

Leanne and Kristy 7Don, unfortunately, can’t be in this year’s event and as the team were called Don’s Warrior Princesses (D.W.P. I like what you did there) last year, they might be competing under a new name!

It’s a great, fun, day with plenty for the whole family. Ice Cream, fast food, tombola, face painting, fair rides, stalls and the kids favourite, junior assault course. The spectacle of the teams as they play off in It’s a Knockout is great fun in itself and the upbeat music keeps the whole thing moving.

So, we’ll see you all there on Sunday 21st July and, whatever you do, don’t get in Leanne’s or Kristy’s way!

Author: Billy Howard

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New Marie Curie report highlights inequalities in #palliative care non-cancer patients receive

wirral_hospice_dr_catherine_hayle_consultantA new Marie Curie report out today reveals inequalities across the country for people needing to access non-cancer palliative care services.

Wirral Hospice St John’s supports the findings of this report and understands how difficult it can be for patients with conditions other than cancer to access the right care for them. There can be a lot of confusion about what hospice care is for, because there is an assumption that it is solely for people with cancer requiring care at the very end of their lives. Although the majority of Wirral Hospice’s patients do have cancer, it also provides care for people with a much broader range of illnesses, including heart, kidney, lung and neurological conditions.

Dr Catherine Hayle, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Wirral Hospice, specialises in non-cancer conditions. She joined the Hospice two years ago and her role is to develop non-cancer care services, and to strengthen relationships with GPs and health teams across Wirral so that its specialist care can be accessed by anyone who needs it.

“In just two years, we have seen a huge increase in non-cancer referrals. This is really important because it is vital that people with chronic illnesses are able to access good quality care in the same way that patients with cancer can.

As well as caring for our patients in terms of physical symptom management, we also provide practical and emotional support. And crucially, we provide support to a patient’s carers and family too. By looking at the whole picture, the Hospice can help those living with serious illness to achive the best possible quality of life for them and their family.”

Dr Hayle was interviewed live on BBC Radio Merseyside this morning, scroll to 1hr 6mins to listen to the whole piece.

If you or anyone you know might benefit from hospice care, please contact your GP or visit Wirral Hospice’s website to find out more.

Author: Teresa Nightingale

Make A Will Month – April 2015 #futureplanning #family #charity

wirral_hospice_extension_square_july_2014Making a legally valid will is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your loved ones are provided for when you are no longer around to look out for them.

Many people do not want to consider making a will yet or think that they will get to it another time, or they may even be worried about the cost of it.

Unfortunately in this country, if your wishes are not drawn up officially then legally your assets are at the mercy of the government, which could leave behind big problems for your loved ones that could take many years to sort out.

If you have assets of any kind and loved ones you would like to look after, it’s crucial that you have a will. The law does not recognise unmarried couples either so if one of you dies suddenly without a will, your partner could be left without anything.

Wills are legally-binding documents and although you can make wills online cheaply and even for free, it is advisable to get professional support because even small errors could cause big problems for the future.

It can usually cost in the region of £150+ for a single will and £250+ for a double will. More complex estates, for example those involving several properties, savings accounts or business assets can take much longer to work on and are understandably more expensive.

Wirral Hospice St John’s has formed partnerships with a number of local solicitors who are all willing to draw up wills at their own expense throughout April.

However, the solicitors are requesting that individuals make a fair donation to the Hospice in return for this service, which is a suggested minimum donation of £80 for a single will and £150 for a double will.

Appointments need to be booked in advance with each of the participating solicitors. Slots will fill up very quickly; early booking is advised so as not to be disappointed!

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