Harli Dixon - a daughter’s story

“St Elizabeth Hospice helped my Mum so much and I want to say ‘thank you’ to the hospice and help raise awareness of what they do, so they can help even more people,” explains ten-year-old, Harli Dixon, whose mum, Jemma Chatten, received support from the independent charity until her death in July 2022, aged 34-years-old.

Every year St Elizabeth Hospice cares for more than 4,000 patients and their families throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

This care sees the independent Suffolk charity providing free services – whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice – to those living with a progressive or life-limiting illness.

“Jemma first came under the care of St Elizabeth Hospice in June 2022”, said Rob Dixon, Harli’s Dad.

“She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, when she was 28, and received chemotherapy and treatment to fight the disease. However, unfortunately in December 2021, Jemma was told the cancer had spread much further, and was now incurable.

“From the moment Jemma arrived, at the St Elizabeth Hospice Inpatient Unit, the staff were just brilliant. They were so kind and compassionate towards Jemma and our whole family.

“Harli and I visited Jemma every other day, once school had finished, so Jemma and Harli could see each other as much as they could.

“Initially, Harli asked why Jemma was at the hospice and my fiancée, Katie, and I explained that the hospice was there to look after mummy and make her as comfortable as possible. This really reassured Harli and I was just blown away by the hospice staff and how they supported us all.”

Melanie Mockett, Jemma’s Mum, added: “The hospice staff were a great support for both Jemma and us as a family. We wanted to be able to spend as much time as possible with her and the hospice helped us achieve that.

“The staff were so kind and respectful towards Jemma and ourselves, going above and beyond to make her comfortable and check in on our family, to see how we were.

“Despite the fact we were unable to get Jemma back home, the hospice did all they could to make sure she felt content during her time there. The hospice staff even helped Jemma with making crafts and trinkets for her children’s memory boxes and they helped us set up a garden party for Jemma – providing all the food and decorations – so that Jemma could see all her family and friends together.”

Rob said: “The St Elizabeth Hospice staff all have a warmth and way about them and, most importantly, they made it possible for Harli to have a final ‘goodbye’ with her mummy, which meant the world to us all.

“Harli loved the nurses and all the staff at the hospice, and always said ‘they are just the nicest people, to see,’ every time we visited the hospice.

“Even after Jemma died, the hospice have continued to be there for us, with Harli receiving support via their young people’s emotional support 565 Service, which has been phenomenal.

“I cannot fault the 565 Service at all and this continued support has made Harli determined to raise funds for St Elizabeth Hospice, in Jemma’s memory.

“Harli wants to keep Jemma’s memory alive, and to mark two years since Jemma’s passing, she has set herself the target of raising £10,000 for the hospice to say ‘thank you’ and to also help fund a leaf on the hospice’s Memory Tree, in dedication to her mummy.

“Last year, she took part in the hospice’s Midnight Walk, raising an amazing £2,500 for the charity.

To raise funds this year, on 26th July exactly two years since Jemma’s death, Harli will be hosting a special event at Seckford Hall – which is also where I work.

“Harli has spoken to our chef, and is currently designing the menu, as part of an event which will feature a three course meal, live band and a range of raffle prizes too. Harli is such a kind girl and I am so proud of her for doing this and I know she will make a big success of everything she has planned in aid of the hospice.”

Melanie said: “We are all incredibly proud of the hard work Harli has been doing to fundraise for St Elizabeth Hospice. Having gone through so much, at such a young age, she still thinks of others above herself.

“Harli is an inspiration to us all. Her strength and determination to push to do so many things in memory of her Mummy is amazing. She is making both Jemma and all our family so proud of everything she is doing and achieving and I am sure will continue to do for many years to come.”

Harli, who lives near Woodbridge, said: “The event is going to be so much fun. My Daddy works at a beautiful hotel and the chef is ace, so I know the event will be brilliant!

“Raising money for St Elizabeth Hospice and for my Mum’s leaf on the hospice’s Memory Tree, is so important to me. The hospice staff were so nice to me and looked after my Mummy as best they could. Even when she struggled with speaking, they knew what she liked and her favourite food to eat – they always made sure she was comfortable.

“I will remember Mummy forever, and I would love to have a leaf in her memory on the Memory Tree at the hospice. I really appreciate any support people can give to my fundraising as you will be raising funds in my Mummy’s memory and for families and friends who might need the hospice’s care in the future.”

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