St Catherine’s Hospice (Crawley)

Blue Helix are raising money to equip a family lounge at St Catherine's new hospice

We want to fully equip one of two family lounges for the new hospice to help friends and families rest and recharge. The lounge will have facilities for making drinks and snacks and will provide a comfortable seating area for everyone
raised of £11,260 target
by 109 supporters
RCN 281362

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Blue Helix passionately support our local hospice. This year St Catherine's mission to reach everyone facing death and dying is moving a huge step forward with the opening of its new world class hospice in November. This is a once in a generation opportunity to improve the lives of friends and family long in to the future and we couldn't pass up the chance to be involved. Please join us in our aim of raising the funds to kit out a family room so that friends and loved ones will know comfort as they face the most difficult of times.

Lucy's experience of the difference St Catherine's made to her and her family particularly moved us and with her permission we are sharing her words below:

It was like being in our own home without our décor

My Dad Colin was diagnosed with cancer in August 2018. He had several chemotherapies but by March 2019 he was admitted to St Catherines Hospice for respite. When I found out Dad was going to go into the hospice I thought thats it.

I thought the hospice would be like an awful hospital - very clinical, cold, and unfriendly but the first day I came to see Dad he was out in the hospices garden in a chair. It was so nice; my 11-year-old twins were running around, and the nurses came to speak to Dad and his wife but also me and my children. They made us all feel very comfortable. We were trying to sing the Baby Shark song to Dad and the nurses got involved as well - it was very funny. Nobody ever minded hearing laughter at the hospice in fact it was encouraged.

The hospice made things feel normal in the 2 weeks that Dad was there

I remember watching the Grand National with Dad in the lounge. It was lovely that he wasnt kept in his bed the whole time. The nurses gave Dad as much freedom as he could have which was invaluable. And at about 4.30pm every afternoon youd hear a clink, clink from afar. The clink, clink, got louder and louder and it was the jolly drinks trolley. Wed often sit and have a drink together.

Dad was scared so he spoke to the hospices chaplain. He asked when his pain was going to end, some questions that he didnt know about, and did some meditation with them. He also loved having hand massages, and would tell me, Im having a man massage today, and petting the Pets as Therapy dog that came around the wards.

As well as looking after Dad, the hospice looked after us as a family

Dads wife, me, my brother, my sister, and our families were all welcome to visit and spend time with Dad and we werent ever told off for having so many of us around his bed. We were encouraged to do what we wanted and needed to do in that time. Nobody judged us. It was like being in our own home without our décor. The hospice doctors always explained everything that was happening to us and answered any questions we or Dad had with honesty and care.

The staff at the hospice are phenomenal

They give you love; they give you space, and you go away at night knowing that the person youre leaving is in the best possible hands. When youre at the hospice you dont want to leave but when youre at home you dont want to come back because its like two worlds colliding, but you know the world your loved one is in is in the best world.

When he was at the hospice Dad was in a mixed ward with other people, some who were very poorly

It was daunting as I was overthinking things the whole time. I remember wondering if Dad would get moved to a separate room when he was more unwell. Seeing people at different stages of their illness was hard because Id think thats my next step, thats what Ive got to watch Dad go through.

When Dad started to go downhill, the nurses made us feel like things were going to be fine

Knowing Dad was so well supported made things easier. The nurses always did everything they could to make him comfortable. Theyd come in and although Dad couldnt speak at the end, theyd say, you alright Colin? You alright? Yeah, yeah, lovely and Id tell Dad not to worry that Id have his drink when the drinks trolley came round.

In the two nights before Dad died, my sister and Dads wife stayed in chairs by his bed and they were really impressed by the care he received from night staff too.

On the day Dad died we were taking it in turns to sit around his bed

It was about 7.30pm and we were saying goodnight to him, as we normally did, when the nurses asked us if wed mind going out to the café area while they made him more comfortable. We all went out then a nurse came running down the corridor saying, youve got to come back, his breathings changing. So, we all went charging into his room.

The nurses gave us so much space to say our goodbyes. They let us sit around and take in what was going on. When Dad went the nurse told me He can still hear you. The respect they give each patient is everything. Even when I left Dads room screaming because I couldnt deal with seeing him like that, nurses looked after me, everybody was so lovely.

More recently, a family friend who I called my Auntie Jane, who had Motor Neurone Disease spent time at St Catherines

She told me I didnt have to visit as she knew Id find it hard, but it was something I needed to do. When I visited her, she was in the same room as Dad, in the bed opposite where he was. It was like Dad had just got up and walked out I cried, and so did she. The nurses, again, were fantastic. When Jane was at home, she looked grey and washed out, but after respite at St Catherines she looked like shed been on holiday. All her stress lines and breathing apparatus had gone. When she was at home she was scared. At St Catherines she was like a completely different person.

I wouldnt have wanted her or Dad, two very important people in my life, to be anywhere but the hospice.

About the charity

We’re there for people in Sussex and East Surrey, with expert hospice care, when and where they need us most. Our care is only possible thanks to the generosity of our local community who donate to and volunteer with us. Community support means we’re there when life comes full circle.

Donation summary

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+ £1,262.50 Gift Aid
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