“Whenever we fundraise it’s for Dad”

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Last year Kerry and her Mum Pat held a ladies’ day to raise money for our hospice in memory of Kerry’s Dad and Pat’s husband, John, who was cared for by our hospice in 2016. They share the difference this care made and why they were inspired to support our hospice to make sure more families have the same care and support in the future.

“Dad was fun, hard-working and he loved sports,” recalls Kerry.

“He was just a really good Dad. Everything revolved around his family.” “He could do everything,” adds Pat, “He was very handy and practical and would do building or plumbing, but he didn’t like anything where he had to write. He had a business near where the new hospice will be at Pease Pottage doing car repairs.”

When John was diagnosed with cancer, he was under the care of Guildford Hospital before Pat asked for a referral to St Catherine’s

“I wanted to have somewhere to call in an emergency,” explains Pat. “We got a letter asking us to come into the hospice and your team spoke to both John and I and told us about the different support. They said John could have pampering and massages, but he wasn’t interested. I was told I could come to coffee mornings, but I didn’t want to do that either. One of your ladies gave me a card and said, ‘you’re obviously not ready, let us know when you are.’”

It was good to have someone to talk to who understood and somewhere to go if you wanted to though,” says Kerry and Pat agrees,

John was cared for at home mostly but I did call your hospice when I had an emergency and you really, really helped me. You got a doctor and an ambulance.”

As John became less well, he came to our hospice for his last two and a half weeks

We couldn’t physically care for him anymore at home,” explains Kerry. “He couldn’t eat, drink or anything and we needed extra help.”

“Someone from the hospice came to our home and did a referral,” recalls Pat. “She said John needed to go to the hospice, and she’d call as soon as there was a bed. She called back later that day. For me, having him with you at St Catherine’s was wonderful. It was a relief to know there was someone there to cure his pain.”

“He was looked after from morning to night,” adds Kerry, “but we could still be there spending time with him.” The care was better than we expected, it was amazing,” says Pat.

“And the care wasn’t just about my Dad” explains Kerry, “Your team knew we were struggling as well and made sure they looked after us too. I don’t have great memories of that time because Dad was so ill, but I remember one night when I was at the hospice with him, and the drinks trolley came round. I remember him saying ‘go on I know you want to’ and I said, ‘no I don’t’, and he said, ‘yeah you do’, so I had a glass of wine. Things like that lighten the moment.”

“Your nurses took John out in his bed into the garden by the pond, those things would never have happened if he was in a hospital,” adds Pat. “It meant he was able to listen to the water and be in the air,” says Kerry.

When he needed pain relief it was there instantly too” explains Pat, “We didn’t have to wait, the team were back in minutes.” “And they turned him constantly”, adds Kerry. “He was still in a little bit of pain, but your nurses moved him and cleaned him and then they’d move him again. They did everything in such a nice way.” “And they had a laugh with him,” says Pat. “It wasn’t always serious.”

“The hospice gave Dad the best quality care at the end of his life and their support meant we didn’t struggle at home” recalls Kerry.

Six months after Dad died, I went back to the hospice for counselling because I couldn’t cope with it. I don’t know where else I would have gone, and it really did me good. The hospice offers services to help people after a loss even if it’s months down the line. The counsellor was really good – I just cried for the first three sessions but we talked by the end.”

Kerry and Pat were already members of our hospice lottery before John came under our care as Pat’s Dad was under the care of our hospice years before

“We’ve always done odd bits of fundraising,” explains Kerry. “My son did a run. Neither Mum nor I send Christmas cards, so we donate all our Christmas card money to the hospice instead.” “I donate to the hospice for John’s birthday too,” adds Pat, “but with the last two years and lockdown we knew things had gone a bit to pot so we thought we’d try and do something else to raise money.”

Kerry and her Mum organised their ladies’ day in two weeks after going out for a drink one night where the idea was born

“A couple of years ago we went to something similar for Breast Cancer as guests,” explains Pat. “We thought perhaps we could do something like that – that’s what initially put the idea in our heads.”

I sent a message out to family and friends that night,” says Kerry. “In the end 47 ladies attended and raised £2,200, which was a lot of money. I thought the most we’d raise was £1,000 – I didn’t expect to raise the amount we did.” When things get tight, people choose a charity they’re going to support and they stick with that one,” adds Pat. “We’ve done that with St Catherine’s.”

Our ladies’ day was held at Da Nico’s restaurant in Crawley,” shares Kerry. “It was a two course sit down meal with half a bottle of wine per person, and we also organised a singer to perform 60s and 70s music. It started at 12 noon and finished about 3.30pm.

It was such a nice day! Girls know how to have fun!” “We had people dancing in the restaurant at 3pm,” laughs Pat.

“Friends, family and businesses donated raffle prizes and we charged £10 for a strip of raffle tickets,” says Kerry. “Most people brought £20 worth. The raffle alone made £980, and the rest of the funds were raised via our auction and everyone who attended giving a £5 donation to the hospice.

We were amazed at people’s generosity. In the auction we had a £200 voucher towards any Ivy restaurant, a BBQ worth £400, a Lingfield Race Course ticket, two golf days at Tilgate, a £100 voucher for a Dorking restaurant. Hairdressers and beauty salons were also really generous; people donated facials, blow dry haircuts, eyelash extensions – everything! Other people made cupcakes and friends who couldn’t come made baskets of prosecco, fruit bowls, and donated afternoon teas. Everyone came away with at least two prizes which was really nice.”

Kerry and Pat hosted their ladies’ day in memory of John

“When we do something like this it’s for him,” says Kerry. “Even though it’s hard and upsetting he’s not here, when we support the hospice, he’s not forgotten. I know Dad would be really proud of Mum and I for our fundraising. When he was alive, I did a Mud Run for charity and he came and watched me and was very proud.

We know other people who’ve died of cancer and didn’t have the care my Dad had and you wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Not having that type of care must be really hard. We’ve had your hospice’s care make a difference for us, now it’s time for us to help care for other people. It’s our way of paying back.”

If you’re inspired by Kerry and Pat to do your own fundraising you can check out our fundraising ideas or look at our calendar of events to see the latest challenges you can take on to support our hospice.