Spotlight On: Owen – A Hospice Hero at the ripe old age of, 11 #abseiling #fundraising #charity #events #wirral #wirralhospice #hospicehero

owen 1We love it when supporters of Wirral Hospice St John’s take on a challenge to raise funds for us.

Over the years, many thousands have undertaken a whole host of wonderful (sometimes weird!) activities and events. They’ve completed charity walks, run marathons, endured triathlons, sat in baths of beans, swum for miles, shorn their locks, climbed mountains, jumped out of aeroplanes and much, much more. The funds they raise help us to continue to provide our specialist care services, free of charge, for the people of Wirral.

People embark on these pursuits for all sorts of reasons. It might be that they witness the services we provide for their family members or friends, at first hand. They may know people who are staff and volunteers here or, perhaps they read about the essential services we provide on information leaflets, or on social media, and they just wanted to help.

Whatever the reason, we really appreciate them ONE AND ALL.

We’re always delighted to see young people taking part for us, sometimes joining their families on walks and a host of other activities.

So, when 11 year old Owen told his mum that he wanted to abseil down a tall building to raise money for the hospice, we were fascinated to find out, why? We wanted to know what motivates a young person to choose to raise money for our charity. Like any good story, a series of life events and circumstances combined to bring young Owen to his inspiring decision.

Owen was born in March 2007. His mum, Kate, had been pregnant at the same time as her good friend and neighbour, Karen. By happy coincidence they spent time on the maternity ward together, cementing their friendship. Karen’s little girl, Sadie, was born two days before Owen.

Karen and Kate remained strong friends in the following years and young Owen and Sadie, living close by in the same road, were like brother and sister. The birth of Owen’s brother Archie, two years later, added to this ‘extended family’ dynamic.

Life went on with its everyday joys and, with the children growing up and playing well together, all was well. That is, until four years later, Sadie’s mum Karen was diagnosed with lung cancer. Huge challenges lay ahead.

Intensive specialised treatment at Clatterbridge followed, enabling periods of relief, remission and respite. The love and support of her many friends, most significantly Kate’s family at that time, enabled Karen to live as full a life as possible with Sadie.

Karen was supported here at Wirral Hospice St John’s. She experienced life affirming activities within our Wellbeing Centre (then known as Day Therapy). She was later admitted to our inpatients ward, once her condition began causing the kind of pain and discomfort our specialist treatment is designed to stabilise.

In August 2016, after five years of living with her illness, Karen died.

In the times when her mum was ill, young Sadie had spent many hours with mum’s friend Kate, her partner Derek and sons Owen and Archie. As life continued, as it has to, Sadie’s Auntie Veronica (Ronnie) took on guardianship and now Sadie is settled with her family.

Karen’s friend Kate is our Kate. She works here at the hospice as one of our lottery administrators having been a hospice volunteer before that, working with the education team, at the time of Karen’s illness. When the chance of a job in the lottery team came up she applied successfully and has been here ever since. She loves her role at the hospice and, inevitably, the work of the hospice features in many family discussions. Young Owen and, increasingly, Archie know of the activities people undertake to raise funds for us.

Owen came to the hospice one day during the school holidays with his mum (already a young ‘volunteer’ his mum had him stuffing some envelopes for the lottery team!). It was just after his school trip to The Conway Outdoor Arts and Education Centre in Anglesey (you know the kind of place: character-forming, outdoors, sailing, hiking and, particularly captivating for Owen, abseiling).

If you’ve seen our ‘Take on a Challenge display banner, sometimes on the roadway here, you may have noticed the silhouette on the side showing a person descending a steep precipice. On the way into the hospice Owen saw the banner and told Kate, “I can do that mum.”

With that small phrase, another ‘Hospice Hero’ was developing.

The ideal place for the task presented itself while the family were walking the Wirral Way near Moreton, Leasowe Lighthouse! A quick Google search confirmed that the lighthouse hosted regular abseiling events with qualified instructors and, even though just 11, Owen was ready to take on his first challenge for the hospice.

So, with fundraising plans in place and sponsorship forms drawn up, family, friends and neighbours rallied around to support Owen. Mum and dad encouraged their pals to dig deep. People were very happy to help raise and contribute funds for the hospice in memory of Karen.

The day arrived and alongside other people (all adults) Owen, safety equipment secured, climbed over the supporting rail and began his descent down 110 feet of lighthouse.

owen 2Five minutes later, after a couple of pauses to catch a breath and with mum Kate’s heart in her mouth, Owen completed his abseil challenge. Lots of whooping, cheering and hugging ensued.
Then it was time to count up the donations!

In this one challenge Owen had raised a fantastic £756 for the hospice. He’d also, demonstrated his support for Sadie, honoured the memory of Karen, made his mum, dad and younger brother swell with pride and, gained the respect of many more of his family, friends and neighbours.

Well done our Owen, everybody at Wirral Hospice St John’s is truly honoured by your efforts!

Author: Billy Howard

 

Advertisements

One of our #volunteers, John, tells us why the hospice is so special ! #hospiceheroes #hospicecareweek #hospicecare #wearehospicecare

20170707_094955.jpgJohn Sutcliffe is a volunteer at Wirral Hospice where I support Day Therapy patients and work as a gardener. I was married for nearly 50 years and we have three children; two sons and one daughter, and six grandchildren. All live locally – I’m chief babysitter!

I was brought up in Wallasey and worked away at sea but when I returned I met Maria, a nurse from Upton who worked at Clatterbridge. We were married in 1969. Maria worked as a nurse for 40 years and I worked for Levers and Group 4 security. Maria and I had a common interest in travel and shared many happy holidays together. My main interests now are gardening and supporting Liverpool football Club.

How long has Wirral Hospice been a part of your life?
Approximately 15 years ago Maria was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which was when I first became involved in the hospice. Whilst Maria was coming to the hospice, I was involved in the Carers group and the Patients and Carers feedback group. Since losing Maria in 2015 I have continued to support the feedback group and have attended the Bereavement Support group and now, volunteering as a gardener and supporter of patients in the Day Therapy Unit.

During Maria’s time as a patient she was fortunate to experience all the services provided – initially as an outpatient, then attending the weekly Day Therapy sessions, then support back at home via the Hospice at Home service and also as an Inpatient. Throughout this time we saw the hospice grow and change through a number of building developments which created “The Hub” café, the new Outpatients department and the multi-disciplinary / patient and family support team areas. During the building works the services we attended were relocated but this did not compromise the amazing all round care we received from the wonderful doctors, clinical team and volunteers.

Being a member of the Patient Involvement group has been a great way for me to give back to the hospice: I was consulted on processes, leaflets and services and I also carried out a Healthcare inspection with external governing bodies which was a chance to share our positive experience of hospice care.

My volunteer role with Day Therapy patients is great as I am gardening with them – this is proving to be a wonderful alternative therapy, and even better we are now producing potatoes, tomatoes, onions and more that we can then pass to the kitchen to use which is really satisfying!

What are your Hospice Highlights?
The main highlight for me has to be the hospice staff – nothing is too much effort. Throughout all the services we experienced, the staff would go above and beyond to support not just Maria but myself and all the family.

When Maria attended her weekly Day Therapy session, I was invited to stay and attend a Carers group which was specifically for patients’ partners and/or their careers. The team who ran this provided wonderful opportunity for support where, over coffee and cake you could ask questions, talk through day to day issues and share experiences of life as a career with others going through the same thing, which helped to prepare you for the journey ahead.

The bereavement support was also a highlight for me – After some initial one to one counselling I joined a bereavement support group where we met every two weeks for about two years. These people became friends for life as we still meet up now and have even been away on holiday together!

Now a big highlight for me is to work with patients in Day Therapy who I know will benefit from their time here because they are going to be made to feel well. I will never forget what one of the consultants said to me when Maria was a Day Therapy patient “You don’t come here to die, you come here for us to control your medication, control your pain and get you home”.

What does hospice care mean to you?
For me the hospice care means the personal touch, where the staff have time to listen not just to the patient, but to the partners, the children and the extended family who are just as important to them. The wonderful team of medics and nurses have the skills to support families when they really do need it.

I couldn’t put a rating on Wirral Hospice – if I did it would be a million stars! You’re made to feel like family and it starts to feel like home.

I can never repay the team at Wirral hospice for what they did but volunteering is my way of giving something back.

veg patch 2.png

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

dsc_0044-2

Our dedicated volunteers at Wirral Hospice St John’s have been honoured with the presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service at a special celebration evening held at Neston Cricket Club on Monday 31 October 2016.

The evening was attended by more than 100 of the Hospice’s 500+ volunteers who help the Hospice in many ways, including patient care and family support, reception, admin, gardening, housekeeping and fundraising.

The prestigious award was presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead DBE and graciously received by Mrs Sandra Fairclough and Ms Emma McKeown on behalf of the Hospice’s volunteers.

Other dignitaries supporting the event were Deputy Lieutenants Colonel Martin Amlot and Mr Stephen Burrows, and Deputy Mayor, Mrs Ann McLachlan.

Julie Gorry, Wirral Hospice’s Chief Executive said: “We are very proud of our volunteers who are so deserving of this special honour.

“Our volunteers are at the heart of everything we do here in providing such a special place of care and support for our patients and their loved ones. We could not run without the immense amount of time, energy and expertise our volunteers bring to our charity.

“Thank you to each and every volunteer for what you bring to us, your kindness and dedication shines through.”

Photos from the night are in our Facebook album Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Presentation Evening which can be viewed even if you don’t have a Facebook account.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Wirral Hospice volunteer, please visit our Jobs & Volunteering web section or contact Carole Snow on 0151 334 2778.

Author: Teresa Nightingale

 

 

Launching our new #SummerMemories campaign

Hospice photoWe are very excited to announce our new Summer Memories campaign. You can sponsor one of our flowers.

These beautiful ornamental flowers will be displayed in bright yellow wheelbarrows around Wirral Hospice St John’s gardens until 31 August. After which, you will then be able to visit the Hospice in early September to pick up your flower, or we will post it out if that is what you have requested.Website Square

Each flower is locally sourced and is roughly 25cm high, 1cm thick and made out of a high quality resin that will not snap and should withstand all that the British summer has to throw at it. The flower will also come with a label attached on which you can write a dedication in memory of a loved one if you choose.

This campaign invites supporters to sponsor a flower and help us raise much-needed funds towards our special care and support of our patients and their families.

Local solicitors Kirwans, have very kindly sponsored this campaign, we are very grateful for their most generous support.

Flower original
Flower sponsorship starts at £5 per flower but you can donate more if you would like to.

You can sponsor a flower in the following ways:

Call the Fundraising Office on 0151 343 0778

Or, download our form here and return it to: Fundraising Office, Wirral Hospice St John’s, Mount Road, Higher Bebington, Wirral CH63 6JE.

For more information please call our Fundraising Office on 0151 343 0778.

#Fundraising News

 

DSC_0042 (3).jpgThere are lots of ways people can and do support our charity’s special work. Thank you to everyone who fundraises or supports local fundraising activities in aid of Wirral Hospice St John’s, we are very grateful for your help.

Here are some upcoming activities you might be interested in:

Lottery Rollover stands at £7,000!!!
Our Hospice’s weekly lottery has a top weekly prize of £2,000 and the second prize of £500 can rollover up to £10,000! There are also 32 other guaranteed cash prizes to be won every week. For this week’s draw on Fri 24 June 2016, the Rollover currently stands at an amazing £7,000!!!

If you would like to become a weekly member, paying £1 a week, please call our lottery team on 0151 334 0348 or pop in to the fundraising office. You’ve got to be ‘in it to win it’! A chance to win…a way to care!

National Gardens Scheme (NGS) Open Garden: Wed 22 June 1.30-5pm
3 Earle Drive, Parkgate CH64 6RY
Beautiful garden, new to the NGS calendar this year. Admission £3 adults, free for children. Refreshments on sale in aid of our Hospice.

Band Night: Sat 25 June, 7.30pm til late
Village Hall, Thornton Hough
Entry fee: suggest donation of £10 to the Hospice
Bands: Absaloot, Survivors of Mild Peril and Mono LPS.
Organised by supporter Andy Barnes to mark his 50th birthday in support of the Hospice.
Screen-Shot-2016-05-22-at-07_45_24
Summer Strum: Sat 9 July 12-9pm & Sun 10 July, 12-6pm
Hoylake Rugby Club
Weekend of folk music organised by the Wirral Ukulele Orchestra, Summer Strum is in aid of our charity and MIND. Free entry, great family atmosphere. Camping spots even available if you don’t fancy travelling back and to. Should be a cracking weekend!
FullSizeRender
London to Paris: 20-24 July
Our team of intrepid Hospice Heroes will be taking on the challenge of cycling from London to Paris. An amazing amount of money has been raised by the group so far and there are some incredibly moving stories as to why they are taking on these personal goals.

If you’d like to support any of our cyclists with a donation or are perhaps even keen to take on your own personal challenge, even if it isn’t quite as arduous as cycling 300miles, please contact Michelle, Sam or Jamie-Leigh on 0151 343 0778 about what runs and challenges we have coming up.
iak
It’s A Knockout: Sat 30 July
Wirral Rugby Club
Ever wanted to take part in hit TV show from yonder years? Now is your chance! £10 per person, teams of 6-10 and we can help make up teams. Please get in touch with Jamie-Leigh on 0151 343 0778 if you fancy a whirl or would like to volunteer at the event. It should be a fantastic laugh and great atmosphere for participants and spectators. Free entry for those coming along to watch and cheer on the teams, there will be food stalls and a bar, as well as children’s rides and entertainment too.
sainsbury_s_live_well_for_less

sainsburys money boxPlease vote for us in the Sainsbury’s Local Charity Public Vote!
We’ve been shortlisted for both Sainsbury’s Upton and Sainsbury’s Neston it would be great to get selected to one of their partners and truly incredible if we end up partnering with both! Votes count, so please do it on work computers and any mobiles, laptops, tablets etc you have at home. Please encourage your friends and family to vote for us too. We only have until Sun 26 June to register votes so don’t put it off too long, please!

If you have any questions, suggestions or burning ideas to raise funds for Wirral Hospice’s special care and support of our patients and their loved ones, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me: Teresa Nightingale, Head of Fundraising 0151 343 0778  /  fundraising@wirralhospice.org, thank you.

Best wishes
Teresa x
teresa_nightingale_photo

%d bloggers like this: