You only have to take one step into St John’s Hospice and you know you are in a very special place. Be under no misapprehension, this is a place where people come to live, not to die.
Yes, people who attend, both as day patients and in patients, have life limiting conditions but this is a happy place fuelled by optimism, friendship and a real determination to make the most of life – and help those facing the end in any way possible.
And you don’t have to turn very far to find family or friends who have been helped by the wonderful teams of staff and volunteers – it really is hard to find someone whose life has not been touched in some way.
The reality is, we may all need St John’s in our lives. It was built by the people to fulfil a need not provided for by the NHS – the hospice relies almost entirely on donations, bequests and fundraising activities to keep going. But the current half million pound yearly deficit is not sustainable in the long term. It is not going to close tomorrow but the future is no means certain –and it could be you or your loved ones that need help.
This is both a personal and professional quest for me – and many of my colleagues. My own mum Anne, diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 41, received help from a charity hospice very like St John’s. There she painted, made friends and fundraised – a dark time was turned into light – before she passed away at home leaving a young family. I will always remain grateful for the help the hospice provided in our family’s time of need. So I’ll certainly be baking a cake. Please get involved. Your hospice needs you.
NICOLA ADAM, EDITOR