Dan’s story

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“From the first moment we stepped in, we were made to feel like it was our home from home. That was how it was explained to us by the staff – we were to bring in our food, drinks, whatever we liked. ‘This is your home,’ they said.”

In October 2018, I will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of my mum and in aid of St Clare Hospice. I’m raising vital funding because I want other people to have access to the amazing care and support that we had as a family, when Mum stayed on the Inpatient Unit back in December 2016.”

“Mum stayed in Room 7 at St Clare, arriving on the Tuesday morning after a bed became free at the last minute. I didn’t quite know what to expect when we arrived, as I’d never been to a hospice before, but I was quite open-minded.”

“The atmosphere when we arrived at St Clare was totally different to what I’d imagined. It was so relaxed, and didn’t feel clinical at all. The rooms are like posh hotel rooms, and there’s even underfloor heating!”

“From the first moment we stepped in, we were made to feel like it was our home from home. That was how it was explained to us by the staff – we were to bring in our food, drinks, whatever we liked. ‘This is your home,’ they said.”

“They even let us bring our dog, Charlie, in to see Mum!”

“We were pretty much allowed to move in, more or less. We’ve got quite a big family: three boys, three girls, and my dad. We were all here, virtually the whole time whilst Mum stayed on the Inpatient Unit – including extended family! There must have been eleven of us in total.”

“I can’t put into words how special it was to us, to have a place where we could just be ourselves during what was a really difficult time.”

“People think that in a hospice you have to all sit around and be sad, not say anything, or smile or laugh. Yet, all the staff are so bubbly, upbeat and positive – it’s not gloomy at all!”

“We even got talking to other patients’ families who were going through a similar thing to us. It was lovely to not be afraid to laugh and joke with other people; to feel like it was OK to do that.”

“Both Mum and Dad had played the St Clare Lottery for years – as long as I can remember it was always something they’d done. They’d always supported the hospice because we’re all from Harlow, so it was our local charity providing care and support in our own community. I think that’s why mum wanted to be at St Clare when it was her time. It was her wish.”

“After a very, very bravely fought battle against an illness that plagued her for many years, my mum Barbara passed away at St Clare Hospice in December 2016.”

“Mum passed away on the Wednesday evening. Me, my sister Jayne, my brother Duncan and Dad all stayed in the room with her the previous night. It made such a difference to us, getting to spend that last night with her.”

“Although it was such a sad time, St Clare made it all as easy as it could be. The staff, the care, and the environment all made the experience bearable during what was such a difficult couple of days. St Clare really feels like a secluded sanctuary.”

“The hospice is kind of like an adopted part of my family now. It’s a big event in your life, when a loved one dies, and it’s a really sad time. It’s hard to explain, but I just feel a strong connection to St Clare.”

“Knowing that it’s largely funded by donations has just made our whole family want to give back, to say thank you to the people who helped us. The staff really cared for all of us.”

“My wife Denise ran the Royal Parks Half back in October 2017, and my sister Joanne did the Prudential Ride 100 in July, 2017. My Dad has done boot sales and is donating the money to St Clare, and my brother Duncan and his wife did a quiz night – we’ve even done the Winter Walkies with the whole family! Anything we do now, we do it for St Clare.”

“Mum and Dad were married for 39 years; it’s been hard for the family to come back to St Clare, understandably. Yet, they continue to support us, as a lot of us have had the bereavement counselling to help us get through the experience.”

“I just can’t praise the staff there highly enough, for the care Mum received in those last days and for how their compassionate support extended to us, too. The empathy and caring attitude of every single one of them, combined with the ability they have to make such a difficult time as bearable as possible, really does warrant the highest praise anyone could give. I personally will be eternally thankful to St Clare for everything.”

“My family and I are raising money because we, too, want to make a difference to others who are going through what we did. I want St Clare to be there in years to come, because people need it, and it makes a big difference to those who need it.”

“I’m going to absolutely love climbing Kilimanjaro, and I’m so excited – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. But it’s amazing that I’ll also be able to raise money for St Clare.  Share in my journey raising as much vital funding for our local hospice as possible, as I train, get my kit, and plan the trip, through my video diary I’ll be making along the way.”

 

“Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to my story – and stay tuned to find out where this adventure takes me.”

– Dan


Support Dan

If you would like to support Dan throughout his journey and keep up-to-date with his progress, you can follow his story on his Facebook page at: facebook.com/kilidan4stclare

To sponsor Dan in his challenge where he will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of St Clare Hospice, please visit his fundraising page at: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DanielMackay2

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