Hospice Legacy Awareness Month 2022

St Elizabeth Hospice has announced the return of its annual Legacy Awareness Month to encourage more to people consider the distribution of their estate after their death.

Returning this October, for the sixth consecutive year, the awareness month encourages the community to consider making a Will to ensure their wishes are met after their death, while also serving to increase awareness of the hospice’s services and encouraging supporters to consider leaving a gift donation in their Will to the hospice.

Currently one in five patients are cared for via hospice services as a result of gifts in Wills, equating to around 400 people receiving care, free of charge, each year.

One person who has left a gift in her Will to the hospice, is Sarah, who was motivated to do so after she saw first-hand the difference the care provided by St Elizabeth Hospice makes, after her husband, Roger (pictured), was supported by the hospice Community Team before his death in March 2021.

“It all began with the brandy butter,” explains Sarah. “Christmas 2020, during the pandemic, so Christmas for two but enough food for ten, including Christmas pudding and homemade brandy butter.

“Boxing Day – guess who ate the rest of the brandy butter and felt sick for days afterward? After New Year’s, Roger finally agreed to see the doctor who wanted to do blood tests.

“Soon there was a call from the doctor to say go straight to A&E, with suspected clot on the lungs. Next morning, he rang me from the ward to come and collect him, explaining the doctor would be in touch directly with the news. Oh dear, I thought, that doesn’t sound good.

“That was the worst telephone call in my entire life, to confirm that Roger had colon cancer and his liver was also full of cancer and could we come in next week to discuss treatment.

“Being a thorough, selfless and organised man, we calmly discussed his wishes, which was to stay at home with no treatment whatsoever.

“There was lots to plan, such as power of attorney and Wills. We were keen for Roger not to have a hospital bed and all of this to be kept secret from friends and family. Luckily, it was during the pandemic and no one was just calling by.

“I knew I had to keep strong. Our dog, Annie, was the 24 hour carer and would rarely leave Roger’s side except for quick wee walks.

“The other most important thing, I soon realised, were the angels at the end of the phone and three visits from the angel nurses from St Elizabeth Hospice – even their pamphlets soon became my bible to turn to, when I was in doubt.

“I secretly visited the undertaker, saying I needed information for a friend but a few weeks later, went back to organise everything discreetly so the neighbours wouldn’t know. Even at 3am in the morning, when they took the body, we still had a laugh about something, as he would have wanted us to, before Annie and I left to walk by the river.

“Of course, I also rang St Elizabeth Hospice, who as good as their word, came out on the freezing March morning and helped me dress my beloved Roger for the last time.

“To conclude ‘my story’, I have to say that without St Elizabeth Hospice, none of my dear Roger’s wishes would have been possible. It made me realise, how important but underfunded they are.

“If any of you reading this wonder how to help, please just make a note to add to your Will a contribution, so that one day they will also be there for you.”

To find out more about St Elizabeth Hospice’s Legacy Awareness Month please call 01473 723600 or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/support-us/make-a-donation/make-a-gift-in-your-will/

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