I wanted a little bit of sparkle to raise cash for the Hospice and lift Aunty’s spirits

Kim O’Connor, from Faye Green, Abbots Langley, explains how a treasure trove of old glassware hidden in a relative’s loft became the inspiration for a creative fundraiser for the Hospice and a boost for her 55-year-old aunt, Maria Dockery…

“The Hospice has done an amazing job of supporting my aunty, Maria Dockery, since she was first diagnosed with what’s now, very sadly, terminal cancer 11 years ago.

So when my husband discovered more than 30 short-stemmed toasting glasses in his late granny’s attic, which were going to end up in a charity shop or in the recycling bin, it got me thinking.

I’d made glitter wine glasses before for my wedding, anniversaries and Christmas presents, but I thought if I could turn them into candles with the Hospice’s logo painted on the front and sell them to raise funds for the Hospice, it would be a small gesture to give something back.

I thought a little bit of sparkle would be just the thing to lift Aunty’s spirits – after all, who doesn’t like a little bit of sparkle? 

Hand made glitter candle - made by home patient Maria's niece KimI’d never made candles or boiled and melted wax before, so the first batch was a bit tricky. My mum had to come round to help me and it took us two hours to make eight!

But once we got the hang of it, we were making six in an hour and as fast as I was making them, Maria was selling them down at the Boy’s Home village pub in Abbots Langley - she sold a whole box of six one lunch time!

She’s just been amazing. She keeps going, she keeps smiling as though everything is OK and she never complains. She really is the strongest woman I know.

Since then, she’s sold them at her local Trowley Rise Club, to friends and family, as well as to colleagues and friends of her Hospice Community Specialist Nurse, Julie Brown. So far, she’s sold a total of 46 at a price of £5 each, and made nearly £250 for the Hospice.

But it’s just a small token of my gratitude for the nursing care she’s had at home since she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. It spread to her neck in 2012 then came back in her throat in 2013.The care she received through all her chemo and radiotherapy has just been incredible.

She looks forward to Julie’s regular visits, she’s had reflexology at the Hospice’s outpatient Spring Centre and she’s now under the care of the Hospice’s Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Dr Neil Pender, who’s lovely and has really put her mind at rest over her treatment options going forward.

Neither of us thought the candle idea would take off like it has, but to know that every penny we raise will help the Hospice keep providing its fantastic care and support for patients like my Aunty is wonderful.”

The candles are currently for sale in the Hospice Reception and will be available to buy at the Hospice’s annual Light Up a Light Service on Sunday 6th December.

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