Every year St Elizabeth Hospice delivers free care to over 3,000 patients and their families throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
Centered on an individual’s needs, the hospice provides specialist support, whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice.
One person who has experienced first-hand the difference this support can make to patients and their families, during difficult times in their lives, is Julie Stout from Ipswich.
Both Julie’s parents, Jacqueline and William Sparrow, were cared for by the hospice and her family have been supporters of the charity ever since.
“All the hospice staff are angels and I don’t know what we would have done without them,” said Julie.
“They made Mum, Dad and our whole family feel more comfortable and assured during a very difficult time for us.”
Jacqueline came under the care of the hospice team in December 2021, after being referred to St Elizabeth Hospice by her GP. The hospice Community Team organised a specialist bed and mattress to help make Jacqueline more comfortable at home, while also visiting regularly to support her, Julie and Julie’s brother, who also cared for their Mum.
“Thanks to the hospice Mum was able to receive end-of-life care at home, which was her wish, until she passed away aged 81 on 27th December last year,” explained Julie.
“It was a tough time, but they made it so much easier, making sure Mum, myself and my brother received the support we needed. Nothing was too much to ask. Until the hospice nurses came along we felt like we were on our own.
“It was hard for Mum, as she was a proud lady, but the respect the nurses gave her was fantastic. This put her at ease and without them they would have all struggled.
“Our first experience of the hospice had been with my Dad seven years ago. Although he only spent one night at the hospice, it provided us with such relief and reassurance knowing he was receiving the care he needed, before his death.
“In fact, when he first saw the hospice room, he asked ‘Who is paying for this then?’ as he was so impressed by their personal service and the level of care they gave.”
After seeing the support given to William, Julie and her daughter Jessica Mai (pictured centre with her grandparents William and Jacqueline) took part in many fundraising activities to support the hospice, including the annual hospice Christmas Day Dip and its popular Midnight Walk.
However, after giving birth to her second daughter Orla Mai Anne on 7th May, Jessica Mai sadly died in the early hours of 9th May. In December 2021, Julie and her husband Neil, in tribute to Jessica Mai and her passion for supporting the hospice, lit up their home with Christmas lights with all donations, from the community, going towards St Elizabeth Hospice in Jessica Mai’s memory.
Julie added: “Christmas has always been a special time for our family and especially Jessica Mai. By organising our fundraising Christmas lights, we were able to continue Jessica Mai’s love for Christmas for her daughters and her niece and nephew, while also giving back to the hospice as well, which was very important to us all.
“After Jessica Mai’s death the hospice team also provided us with emotional and wellbeing support over the phone and in the coming months we will having face-to-face sessions with them as well. The hospice is a real holistic service that supports the whole family.
“They have been a lifeline to us all. They are there to help and I would encourage anyone who thinks they could benefit from St Elizabeth Hospice’s support to get in contact. You don’t need to struggle alone, the help they can give you and your loved one is a godsend.”