The Hospice of St Francis is inviting members of the community to remember and celebrate someone special this winter by pledging their support for its annual Light Up a Life Appeal.
Light Up a Life offers everyone who has lost a loved one the chance to dedicate a light on a special Tree of Remembrance standing in the beautiful Hospice grounds to remember the life they shared together.
Illuminated at the beginning of December, the lights will burn brightly throughout the festive season in memory of those who are no longer with us.
They will shine for people like devoted father-of-three Matt Parkin, from St Albans, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, shortly after he turned 40.
Matt’s wife Rebecca said the cancer was very aggressive and as Matt’s illness progressed it became increasingly difficult for him to spend time with their three children aged four, five and 16.
“Matt was an incredible family man and took great pride in playing an active role in everyday activities with the children. As the cancer advanced he became very sensitive to sounds and smells, which made spending time with the kids more difficult. I didn’t want this to be the way his life ended,” Rebecca explained.
“When we got to the Hospice, we were made to feel so welcome. They took control and reassured us that his quality of life could be better and that we would be able to spend good time together as a family.
“They helped Matt to manage his pain, they always had time to talk to us and I felt confident that Matt was now receiving the best care possible. They gave Matt hope – not that he could be cured, but that they could enable him to make special memories by spending more quality time with our children.”
Matt and his family are among the 2,000 people across Herts and Bucks that the Hospice helps every year to live their precious lives well and make the most of the time they have left. Tailored to each person’s need, its free care for people managing or recovering from serious illness has many forms – care at the Hospice, at home, or in its health and wellbeing outpatient Spring Centre.
Kate Phipps-Wiltshire, Hospice CEO, said: “This time of year can be particularly hard, especially for those who have suffered loss. Many people take comfort from knowing that the lights on our Tree of Remembrance symbolise a loved one and are shining brightly in their memory.
“Over winter, many more people will be spending time at the Hospice and our staff work tirelessly to provide the very best of care when it is needed most. Any contributions the community makes to our Light up a Life Appeal will go towards the over £5million it costs us every year to keep our doors open and ensure we can continue to be there for families like Rebecca’s.”
It costs nothing to dedicate a light in memory of someone special so if you’d like to remember someone or make a donation to the Hospice’s Light Up a Life Appeal, please visit www.stfrancis.org.uk/lual or call 01442 869555.
To read more about Matt and Rebecca’s story and to help us to help more people to live their precious lives well, please visit stfrancis.org.uk/lual2018.