With your support, St Luke’s can provide care and comfort to families like mine

This Christmas is going to be a difficult time for my family, like it is for so many families who’ve lost loved ones, because it will be our first Christmas without my lovely Dad, Keith.

Dad passed away peacefully at St Luke’s in January this year and I will be forever in debt to the nurses for helping us during his final days. I don’t think you realise just how amazing and vital St Luke’s is until you need their help, and that’s why I want to share my story with you.

My Dad was such an active man. He was a jockey for many years before I was born and even competed in the Grand National in 1979. When he retired from racing he went into the family business, running Taylor’s Newsagents in Wheelock Street in Middlewich.

In January 2018, at the age of 70, Dad was diagnosed with Rectal Cancer, and after surgery and chemotherapy was given the devastating news that the cancer had spread.

Last Christmas was just horrendous because we knew he was dying. He was still at home but he was bed bound and I just sat and held his hand and chatted about all sorts of things. I knew it was the last Christmas I’d share with my Dad.

Dad was adamant that he wanted to die at St Luke’s, not at home or in hospital. He knew what a good place it was and that was why he wanted to finish his life there. He was finally admitted on 7th January, six days before he passed away. My Mum went with him in the ambulance and I followed in my car and I remember thinking ‘this is the last time my parents are going to go anywhere together and it’s to the Hospice for my Dad to die.’ It was heart breaking.

The minute he got admitted to the Hospice, you could see the relief on my Mum’s face, she could be his wife again not his carer. It’s funny because you would think a Hospice is a depressing place, but it really isn’t. It was a home from home, my Mum was able to have meals there and every single person at the Hospice was just brilliant.

My Dad was an animal lover and had a lovely bond with my Labrador Ronnie. Most people probably don’t realise that pets are allowed to visit the Hospice, so I took Ronnie in with me as he always brought a smile to Dad’s face. After Dad had passed away Ronnie jumped on his bed and lay next to him for half an hour.

I am so grateful to St Luke’s for allowing us to have that special time with Dad. His last days were very dignified and that’s what he would have wanted. My Mum and I have treasured memories of his last days and we know that Dad will always live on in our hearts and minds – and that has helped us to cope.

In April this year, my Mum Jennifer was diagnosed with cancer. She has been such an inspiration to me because she’s lost her husband of 47 years, who was her rock, but she’s stayed so positive and has kept going. I want people to know how amazing I think she is. My mum is now attending Day Hospice and also receiving counselling support, so St Luke’s continues to be there for my family.

Without St Luke’s, things would have been so different for us. I now realise just how important St Luke’s is to our local community. But if we don’t support St Luke’s, if we don’t give money, if we don’t volunteer, if we don’t do the Midnight Walk then St Luke’s simply won’t be there for us all.

Please consider giving a donation to St Luke’s this Christmas to help ensure more families like mine get the care and comfort they need.

Thank you,