Local business woman, Hannah Graves, 30, is preparing for the St Elizabeth Hospice Midnight Walk for the third year in memory of her mum, Davina, and Auntie Linda.
Like most people, Hannah didn’t know much about St Elizabeth Hospice before her mum was referred to the local charity.
Her Auntie Linda had been cared for by the hospice in 2008, but Hannah was away and unable to visit when Linda was on the inpatient unit at the hospice, in Foxhall Road, Ipswich. Her first time visiting the hospice was when her mum was looked after there.
Davina Graves was referred to St Elizabeth Hospice in 2014 after being diagnosed with lung cancer. She was cared for by the hospice community nurses, before being admitted to the inpatient unit, where she spent two weeks before she died on 21 March 2014, aged 59.
“Mum and Auntie Linda both had cancer young and passed away at St Elizabeth Hospice. I wasn’t here when my auntie was ill, so I didn’t know what to expect when mum came in. My first impression was how homely they made it feel, and not at all clinical, unlike the hospital. I instantly felt relaxed there.”
St Elizabeth Hospice is well known for its patient and family centred care. Their high quality care and support is provided wherever it is required, whether at the hospice in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, at home or in the community.
“The staff there are amazing! They not only looked mum incredibly well, but they also looked after us too.”
Hannah’s family were allowed to stay with her mum on the inpatient unit, where there are no visiting hours restrictions, for as long as they liked.
“The nurses gave us blankets and mattresses so we could stay the night. They made it as easy as possible for us to be with mum.
“All the staff and volunteers made us feel so welcome. When the sun was out they would wheel mum’s bed outside so she could lie in the sun in their beautiful garden.”
Following her mum’s death in 2014, Hannah has been a stalwart supporter of the hospice, organising numerous events and taking part in the hospice’s annual fundraiser, the Midnight Walk.
“The work the hospice does to provide the high level of care they give is amazing. After mum died, I decided to give something back by fundraising for them.
“I’ve organised a couple of discos now and they’ve gone really well. I don’t know how we did it, but the last disco raised £2,200. We held an auction and a raffle and with ticket sales and the support of friends, family, colleagues and friends of friends, we managed to raise that incredible amount.”
This year, on Saturday 7 May, Hannah will be taking part in her third Midnight Walk, which celebrates its tenth birthday with a neon theme.
“I can’t wait for this year, it’s going to be great! It’s the 10th birthday so we’re walking the ten mile route. My friends all walk with me, for me and in memory of Mum, even though they didn’t really know her very well.”
Last year Hannah and her friends entered into the spirit of the night and the pirate theme, dressing as pirates and buying lots of extra accessories on the night from the hospice retail stalls. This year Hannah is even more excited about the neon theme – especially as she was involved in the launch and is featured on all the publicity materials for the event.
“It was really fun to be a part of the photos for all the materials for this year’s Midnight Walk – I’m sitting on the moon on the flyers, posters and banners!
“I think St Elizabeth Hospice is a wonderful place and I will continue to help as much as I can by walking and fundraising whenever possible.”