A BRAVE widower whose late wife was cared for at Ashgate Hospice before her death is campaigning to help the region raise £50,000 for the charity with the launch of its Christmas’ Lights of Love appeal.
Warren Hallam, of Chesterfield, was so impressed with the hospice’s care for his wife Lisa during her battle with ovarian cancer he has also set up his own fund with the couple’s daughter Lucy to continue supporting the charity for years to come.
He said: “Without the hospice’s love, care and support I truly believe Lisa’s end of life care would have been very different and not one that Lucy and I would have been able to reflect on in such a positive way. This has made a massive difference to the way we remember my wife and Lucy’s mummy.”
Warren and Lucy are urging residents to dedicate a Light of Love and make a donation in honour of someone special like Lisa and all those who take part will be invited to a Christmas lights switch-on at the hospice, on Ashgate Road, on December 16, where they can remember family and friends who are sadly missed during the festive season.
Lisa became ill in April and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, underwent chemotherapy and spent two weeks in Chesterfield Royal Hospital before she was allowed home with palliative care support and introduced to Ashgate Hospice.
Warren added: “We were put in touch with the hospice. This was quite a daunting prospect as you don’t expect to be talking to the hospice about your 40 year-old wife.
“An Ashgate Hospice Macmillan Nurse and an occupational therapist contacted us and they were a massive help in making Lisa more comfortable at home by providing specialist equipment for her care.
“In June, we were advised a stay in the hospice might improve Lisa’s symptoms and make her more comfortable.
“I could not believe how the hospice team including all the nurses settled Lisa in and made sure Lucy and I were supported from the very beginning.
“Lucy loved to visit her mummy and wander round the hospice as though it was her house. Nothing was too much trouble for anyone and the hospice has become a place that Lucy and I are unbelievably attached to because it is such a special place.
“I cannot stress enough how important the support Lisa, Lucy and I received from the nurses, doctors and family support team and how much that helped me make extremely important and difficult decisions along the way.”
Lisa’s funeral fund and a generous donation from Warren’s employer Enterprise Rent-a-Car have raised £3,000 for Ashgate Hospice and Warren has also set up an Ashgate Hospice Tribute Fund in Lisa’s name.
Those who dedicate a Christmas Light of Love make a donation of £5 or over to the hospice in their loved one’s name and will receive a personalised card to write a personal message and those who donate £25 or over will also receive a remembrance bracelet or a beautiful tree decoration with a space to insert a photograph of someone special. Trees at the hospice will be trimmed with thousands of lights for the switch-on ceremony.
There will also be an option to have a dedication placed on one of the hospice’s virtual online Christmas trees so friends and family from far and wide can see the tribute and even add one of their own dedications if they wish.
Ashgate Hospice fundraising events organiser Emily Evans said: “Dedicating a Light of Love is a wonderful way to remember loved ones and every penny raised from the appeal will help us continue to provide vital specialist care to local people and their families.
“Last year, our Lights of Love campaign raised over £46,000 and this year every single penny counts as our target currently stands at a staggering £2.8m.”
People can make a dedication online via www.ashgatehospice.org and can call the hospice on (01246) 567250 to make donations or for more details.